Six newly installed kiosks at the Calexico downtown Port of Entry already are making a difference for pedestrians waiting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection are reporting shorter wait times due to the Ready lane kiosks that were installed recently. The kiosks allow travelers to scan their own border-crossing documents before reaching the officers, reducing the time it would take for the officers to manually swipe the documents. Port officials said Wednesday that more than 60 percent of pedestrians crossing the border are already using the kiosks.
The Imperial and Mexicali valleys long have held a symbiotic relationship. Many Imperial County residents were born and raised or have family in Mexicali and cross regularly for weddings, funerals, parties and other events. Schools on either side of the border are attended by students from the other, although we’re fairly certain more Mexicali children attend Imperial County schools than the other way around. Shoppers from Mexicali neighborhoods flood Costco and the Wal-Marts of our Valley and pack out the Imperial Valley Mall on Sundays. Field workers hoping for jobs cross the border in the wee hours of the morning, and return later that day. Some of our colleagues brave that border-crossing twice every workday. And our young folks looking for more entertaining night life often find it in Mexicali.
The Ready lanes will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but those using the lanes must carry the proper documents enabled with Radio Frequency Identification, including U.S. passport cards, Trusted Traveler cards such as SENTRI as well as legal permanent resident and laser visa/border crossing cards issued after 2008.
With so much ebb and flow at the third-busiest land port of entry in the United States, the lanes are a welcome addition. And the timing couldn’t have been better. Summer may be just around the corner, but the triple digits already are here. Waiting in line in 100-plus degree heat is the last thing anyone who lives here should have to endure.
THE ISSUE: New kiosks for pedestrians crossing the border
WE SAY: The kiosks are a welcome addition, and just in time for summer.
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