coronavirus

International Travelers Wait in Hours-Long Line Upon Arrival at DFW Airport

DFW Airport is one of 13 airports through which Americans returning from restricted European countries, China and Iran are required to travel

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Long wait times greeted international travelers at DFW International Airport on Saturday night.

Viewers reached out to NBC 5 to report they waited 3 to 5 hours in line at U.S. Customs inside Terminal D.

Traveler Dorothy Lowe shared photos and videos showing the long lines and crowded spaces inside the customs area.

DFW Airport is telling travelers delays are due to “enhanced screenings of passengers” who have been abroad.

DFW Airport issued a statement Saturday night.

"DFW Airport is one of 13 U.S. airports identified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to screen American citizens, legal permanent residents and their immediate families who are returning home from European and other regions. These federally mandated enhanced procedures are part of the effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The necessary additional procedures may cause delays in processing through Customs but are of the utmost importance for the health and safety of everyone."

In a new statement Saturday, DFW Airport said the increased medical screening requirements caused initial delays, but that the airport understands Customs and Border Protection "changed the process to improve screening times."

Late Sunday, airport officials sent a statement saying the adjustments made by CBP resulted in wait times closer to 10 minutes with highs of 30 minutes.

Friday, the Department of Homeland Security announced DFW Airport would be one of 13 airports through which Americans returning from restricted European countries, China and Iran would be required to travel.

According to DHS, passengers will go through standard customs processing, then continue to enhanced entry screening where they will be asked questions regarding their medical history, current condition and given information regarding COVID-19.

On Sunday, Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said in a statement that the agency recognizes the wait times were "unacceptable."

"As we work collaboratively to address the spread of COVID-19, some of the resources of our partners are stretched thin. CBP continually adjusts its resources as needed and will continue to do so," Morgan said. "We understand the inconvenience to travelers and be assured that our top priority is to ensure the safety and security of the American people while bolstering our economic security with the facilitation of legitimate trade and travel."

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