EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Hundreds of Juarez residents lined government offices south of the border on Thursday, trying to get copies of their COVID-19 vaccination certificates.
Many, like Adriana Rodriguez and Erika Rivera, need those certificates so they can travel to El Paso, where the U.S. government is now welcoming foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated for the coronavirus and have valid travel documents.
“I have to take my daughter to the doctor in El Paso tomorrow. If they don’t give me (the certificate) today, I will not be able to take her,” Rodriguez said.
The lines at some “Bienestar” federal government offices were several hours long on Thursday. That exasperated some Juarez residents.
“People came here to sleep since 5 a.m. And we’re still in line, not able to get in. This is ineptitude” on the part of federal workers, said Juarez resident Blanca Soto.
The U.S. on Monday rolled back non-essential land border travel restrictions, allowing Mexicans and citizens of other countries who had not been able to come shop or visit family members for the past 20 months to finally come across – provided they carry proof of being fully COVID-19 vaccinated.
The number of Mexican crossers in El Paso has been underwhelming the first few days of the so-called “reopening of the border.” Local officials blame that on people not having the vaccination certificates, even if they did get the shots. Other reasons cited are the fear of long waits at the border and the expiration of non-immigrant visas during the pandemic.
Juan Carlos Loera, the Mexican federal government’s representative in the state of Chihuahua, on Thursday said certificates were not issued for lack of full information or must be corrected due to incorrect information given or taken down at the time of vaccination.
Loera said those corrections could take between four and eight weeks. He urged Juarez residents to visit the Mexican federal government’s web page, verify that their information is correct and, if so, print the vaccination certificate themselves.
Still, the stress level among those who need the certificate right away is high.
“We’re doing it for her (U.S.) legal residence,” said Elizabeth Duarte, who stood in line outside a government office in Juarez on Thursday. “If we don’t take the printed certificate (to the U.S. Consulate in Juarez), they won’t give (her daughter) her residence.”