CBP assures sequestration will not affect Semana Santa traffic

Laredo International Bridge I

Federal officials are assuring the public that the federal budget sequestration will not affect wait times at international bridges with Mexico during Semana Santa.

Each year, thousands of Mexican tourists cross the bridges by car and foot during the Holy Week holidays.

The holidays begin with Palm Sunday and end on Easter Sunday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials issued a statement on Monday saying that sequestration will not affect staffing during Holy Week.

CBP officials said that the public can expect for traffic to be managed at the same levels in previous years.

Customs officers have implemented plans at eight ports of entry from Brownsville to Del Rio since this past Thursday.

Beginning at noon on Monday, CBP at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge in Laredo will open the four additional lanes in the former import lot on an as needed basis to supplement the 15 existing lanes on the bridge.

Border Patrol agents will assist with traffic control and CBP will process tourist permits beyond the midnight hour at the Colombia-Solidarity Bridge until all the permits are processed.

"CBP wants to reassure the traveling public that the agency is working to ensure that the facilitation of trade and travel is expedited as much as possible while still upholding our priority border security mission," officials said in the statement.

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