.HIDALGO, Texas - Motorists and pedestrians breezed through U.S. border crossings yesterday, the first day that Americans returning from Mexico and Canada faced stricter identification requirements, officials and travelers said.
Travelers said they had no problems or delays entering the country in Texas, Vermont, Michigan, New York, and Southern California, and traffic was light even at the normally busy San Diego crossing.
Until yesterday, U.S. citizens could reenter the country with various types of identification. Now, under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a passport, passport card, or special secure driver's license are among a handful of accepted IDs.
Only about 10 cars, typical for a morning commute, were backed up on the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge near McAllen, Texas.
"There was nothing. Everything is all right," said pedestrian Yvonne Rivera, 22, a U.S. citizen who lives in Reynosa, Mexico, and commutes across the border for work in Texas.
At the busiest passenger crossing along the Northern border, the Peace Bridge between Buffalo and Fort Erie, Ontario, traffic flowed smoothly with Customs and Border Protection officers reporting a 95 percent compliance rate with the new ID requirement.
Traffic at San Diego's busy San Ysidro border crossing is down about 12 percent from last year, partly due to the weak economy and fears of swine flu, said Oscar Preciado, the port director for Customs and Border Protection.
About 85 percent of the U.S. citizens filing through the crossing yesterday carried a passport or other acceptable travel document, he said. Others were waved through after being handed a sheet of paper that said they were not complying with the new rules.
"It's a nonevent," Preciado said.
The new requirement did not cause any delays at Highgate Springs, Vermont's largest entry point from Canada.