Shut Down All Ports of Entry, a group that bills itself as a “representation of Americans who are unsettled and deeply concerned with the current administration, in all branches of Federal and State governments,” had promised to block access to every United States port of entry on the southern border on Saturday, September 20, at 8:00 a.m. PST.
But, just hours before the event, Stasyi Barth, the lead organizer, posted on the group’s website and Facebook page an announcement to the effect that the event was being canceled due to an “unsubstantiated threat of mass violence to attendees.”
The group had promised to shut down 25 ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border in order to force the U.S. and Mexican governments to come up with a permanent solution for dealing with the illegal immigration issue, as well as to secure the release of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a former Marine who’s been imprisoned in Mexico since March of this year, accused of crossing the border with weapons and ammunition.
Participants were asked to drive toward the border and stop their vehicles as close to the port of entries as possible (incoming and outgoing). They were also encouraged to drive large vehicles, such as semi-trailer trucks, RVs, and horse trailers, in order to cover more space. The group threatened to keep the blockade in place until their demands were met.
At 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, it was clear that the authorities were prepared for any contingency in the area near the San Ysidro Port of Entry, although the blockade never materialized.
Several CHP cruisers could be seen parked by the side of the southbound I-5 freeway, close to the Camino De La Plaza exit, and a CBP vehicle guarded the northbound side. A tow truck was parked on the Camino de la Plaza overpass; the driver stated that he had been ordered to get to the area before the event was to take place, in preparation for any situation. A few minutes later, he got a call, got in his tow truck, and drove away.
During the time this reporter was in the area, several vehicles were seen stopping on both sides of the freeway, as if scoping the area. They would stay put for several minutes, then drive away.
At around 9:00 a.m., a semi-trailer truck drove straight toward the border and was stopped by CBP agents. Southbound traffic was backed up for a few minutes while agents opened a gate to let the truck get onto Camiones Way, which is the southernmost street west of the I-5 freeway. The truck drove north toward Las Americas Premium Outlets.
It is not known if this incident was related to the Shut Down All Ports of Entry event, but semi-trailer truck traffic is only permitted through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.
At around 9:30 a.m., a convoy of about six tow trucks was seen leaving the area.