Huge Queues At Immigration As US Customs System Breaks

There are huge queues at US immigrations posts this afternoon as a vital computer system used by the CBP has shut down. CBP officers are manually processing passengers at this time. As such, large queues have built up at airports.

US Border, CBP, Customs and Border Patrol
Huge delays have been reported at airports across the United States as vital Customs and Border Patrol systems have gone down. Photo: Prayitno via Flickr

Border control at airports is highly reliant on technology these days. If you’ve traveled to any of a number of countries recently, including the US, you will have noticed everything from your fingerprints to your photo are taken. These are then checked to make sure you are allowed into the country. As such, you can imagine the chaos that ensues when vital computer systems go down.

Huge wait times

Huge wait times have been reported at some of the US’s busiest airports. However, this isn’t the first time such an occurrence has happened. In April, the Australian border also suffered an IT outage. One passenger at Washington’s Dulles Airport reported that there are “easily 5000+ passengers in line” at the airport.

Meanwhile, another passenger at Dulles Airport mentioned that they had already been in an immigration queue for one hour. Additionally, they added that they believe they still have two more hours to wait.

What does the CBP say?

Simple Flying emailed a representative of Customs and Border Protection, however, was unable to get in touch with a representative of the agency. They did, however, issue their own statement via Twitter. It reads:

“CBP is experiencing a temporary outage with its processing systems at various air ports of entry & is taking immediate action to address the technology disruption. CBP officers continue to process international travelers using alternative procedures until systems are back online.”

US Border, CBP, Customs and Border Patrol
Customs and Border Patrol agents have been forced to manually process passengers until the systems go back online. Photo: US CBP via Flickr

What now?

With a huge number of passengers stranded before the US border at airports across the country, the situation is not likely to be resolved easily. It is unclear when the system outage will be resolved. Passengers are currently being manually processes, something which, understandably, takes a certain amount of time. Additionally, passengers could be arriving faster than they can be processed.

Once the systems are back online, things likely won’t get better instantly. The CBP areas are designed for flights arriving at regular intervals, not dealing with thousands of passengers at once. It will likely take a long time to clear the outstanding backlog of passengers once the system is back online.

Are you affected by the immigration chaos? Let us know your story in the comments!