Late checkpoint opening causes frustration near Independence Mall

The 4th and Chestnut security entrance to the Independence Hall area opened at 7:05 a.m., an hour and five minutes late.  

The long wait caused frustration from some in the line of nearly 75 people, particularly as other entrances, such as one on Arch Street, were open.  

"I'm concerned that the other security gates are open and those people are getting prime seats," said Beth Alfaro, 45, of Lumberton, who arrived at the gate at 6:30 a.m. after taking the first PATCO train operating to the city Saturday.

"The Secret Service will tell me when It's OK to open the gate, I apologize," an employee of National Event Services, which was working the gate, told an inquiring woman just before 7 a.m.

Despite the wait, those in line were thrilled to have a chance to see Pope Francis. 

Many were part of an immigrant-rights nonprofit called Juntos, which is based in South Philadelphia.  

Among them were Olivia Vazquez, 21, who came to the U.S. from Puebla, Mexico, at age 10. Her single mother had come to Philadelphia four years prior - working two jobs as a cook and dish cleaner - so she could bring Olivia to the U.S. for a better life and education. 

Vazquez now lives in South Philadelphia and attends the Community College of Philadelphia, where she is a chemistry tutor. 

As she waited to get into the Independence Hall area, standing among individuals who wore green  "Si Se Puede" shirts, Vazquez said she was excited to see immigrants come together to hear Francis advocate for them.

"Just seeing that unity just gives me hope," she said.