Time gap in bordering cities

Humorous approach to the situation: A border officer asking a Juarez border crosser where they are coming from, and them answering “from the future.” Photo credit: Alejandro Garza.

Humorous approach to the situation: A border officer asking a Juarez border crosser where they are coming from, and them answering “from the future.” Photo credit: Alejandro Garza.

Isabel Garza, Class Sections Editor

Sister cities Juarez and El Paso experienced an unprecedented time gap for the majority of November, which affected students, employees, and business owners economically, socially, and personally.

Origin of the situation 

As they do yearly,  the United States changed the time due to daylight savings ending.

It was the first Sunday of November and probably the last time this procedure took place.

As of 2023, the United States Senate will permanently activate daylight savings time, if the Sunshine Protection Act is approved by the House of Representatives.

In the South, Mexico also modified some technicalities in their time zone law.

Next year, the whole country’s time zones will coordinate, except for border states, which will have a seasonal schedule.

But what happened? 

If the time zones have not changed yet, why did border cities  El Paso and Juarez end up at different times?

From November 6 through November 30, Juarez was one hour ahead of El Paso.

The law changes in both countries shouldn’t be blamed for this phenomenon, as each took into account territorial differences.

Rather, a mistake with a document should be looked at for culpability.

In the state of Chihuahua, a petition done out of the time frame, therefore missing the due date, was never sent to the state Congress.

According to Norte, a digital news source, the chamber of deputies declared that the initiative to coordinate time in the two cities would be sent to Congress until next  Tuesday, November 15.

Headlines from local news sites after this date read phrases like “Confusion of locals”, “Not yet”,  “Deputies don’t know”, and “Decree is unofficial.”

These types of headings in the papers caused rumors and misinformation in both cities to spread.

Loretto senior Ana Cecilia Servin who experienced the situation first hand  said, 

“My mom told me at first but she didn’t know if it was actually true or just a rumor.

I thought it was impossible to be in a different time than El Paso.”

Students and employees from El Paso institutions and businesses who live in Juarez,  and Juarez business owners who rely on El Paso customers, experienced delays and schedule changes. 

For example, border and customs schedules were obliged to adjust their opening and closing times to the lost hour for travelers crossing the border.

Authorities considered the importance of the transportation market in border cities. 

If this adjustment hadn’t been made, economic consequences like in the first week of this phenomenon would have extended.

Though necessary, no changes were in effect until federal deputy Andrea Chavez informed the government Secretary, Adán Augusto López of the situation.

Officially, the decree to homologate the time between the sister cities has now entered into effect.

Consequences for people, not just businesses

 Citizens are relieved to hear of the news since they have remained in their routines despite the gap.

Making it almost four weeks of this schedule, some effects on their mental health started to carry out.

A change in their sleep schedule to adjust to the mistake implies modifying

their circadian rhythm; a human’s natural body clock.

 According to the medical advisory board from The Sleep Foundation, without their natural signaling cycle, the quality of sleep for some people can change.

They could struggle to fall asleep, wake up during the night, or be unable to sleep as long as they want.

Rest is important for a productive day, some consequences of not sleeping well are decreased performance in memory, reaction, and vigilance.

Changing a person’s circadian rhythm can affect them even if it means one more hour of sleep, as was the case for some border crossers.

Servin said, “I did wake up one hour later so I felt more rested in the morning.

 But now that we are back to the old schedule I’m having a hard time getting used to it.”

In retrospect

In the month of November, the modification of routines due to a mistake with the authorities affected many in some way or another.

As the situation has been resolved, citizens going back to their routines will take a few more days to adjust their circadian rhythm back to normal.