The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) system temporarily experienced an outage after a “technology disruption” Monday at major airports across the country, according to the federal agency. DFW International was one of the airports affected.
On the first day of the new year, long lines of passengers entering the United States halted at international airports in New York, Florida, Texas and California.
For roughly two hours, the customs computer systems were unable to recognize who was a U.S. citizen, a resident or a visitor, so everyone had to go through an immigration officer, making the process much longer.
DFW travelers told NBC5 they had very little information about what was happening and hundreds of people backed up in line while the computer systems were down.
"We tried maybe three different kiosks, one twice," said DFW traveler Katrina Westermann. "One wasn’t taking the picture, one wasn’t printing the receipt, one was speaking German and that’s it. It was crazy."
Fellow traveler Sandra Mendiola added, "There was a moment where we were waiting for 45 minutes without moving, without knowing what to do, children crying, old people sitting down, people sitting on the floor. So it was pretty awful just not to know what was happening."
The CBP released the following statement Monday evening:
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection experienced a temporary outage with its processing systems at various airports today beginning at 7:30 pm (EST) and ending approximately 9:30 pm (EST). All airports are currently back online.
CBP took immediate action to address the technology disruption. CBP officers continued to process international travelers using alternative procedures at affected airports. Travelers at some ports of entry experienced longer than usual wait times as CBP officers processed travelers as quickly as possible while maintaining the highest levels of security.
During the technology disruption, CBP had access to national security-related databases and all travelers were screened according to security standards. At this time, there is no indication the service disruption was malicious in nature.”
CBP has not given any further explanation of what caused the disruption in the system.