The long-awaited opening of the Boquillas Port of Entry, located near Rio Grande Village in Big Bend National Park, may finally be at hand.
The Gazette is expecting an announcement, possibly tomorrow morning, from the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CPB) and the National Park Service (NPS) with details about the crossing’s opening.
The crossing may open as early as tomorrow morning, although it should be stressed no official opening time or date has been announced.
According to our sources:
Once open, the facility is expected to have business hours five days a week, Wednesday-Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm. This means that persons may only enter the U.S. via this port from Mexico during these hours.
All persons entering the United States here must have a passport or other Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative-compliant document such as a passport or passport card and present themselves and be processed into the United States at the port of entry.
Travelers headed across the river from the United States to Mexico will need to first enter the port of entry facility; once they exit the facility on the other side, to the path leading to the Rio Grande and Mexico, regardless of whether they actually go to Mexico or not, they will be considered to have left the United States, and will need to be processed via U.S. Customs upon re-entering the facility. Processing will occur via visitors utilizing video-equipped kiosks which allow communications with U.S. Customs agents not on site.
A ferry operation to take travelers across the river between the United States and Mexico will be available for $5 per person. Persons wishing to ford the river or use their own watercraft will be free to do so.
The port of entry facility will be staffed by National Park Service employees.
Last week, the Park Service conduced training sessions for employees under the cover of darkness at 6 am, according to employees not authorized to comment on behalf of the agency. Yet no formal announcement from either the CBP or NPS has been made.
On April 3, The Gazette first reported the crossing may open sometime this week.
After spending two days boating on the Rio Grande with Department of Homeland Security officials from Washington D.C, and local National Park Service officials in August 2010, the Gazette breaks the story of a planned port of entry at Boquillas in our September 2010.
We will update this site as developments unfold.
ABOVE: Last week, a technician from the company that maintains the kiosks that will process international travelers was on site, doing some final testing at the soon-to-open new port of entry. According to Park Service sources, no formal ceremony is planned at this time; when the facility first opens, it will be without fanfare. Celebratory ceremonies are planned for an unknown date in the future.