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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Customs Officials Say Border Traffic Steady Amid Tighter Security

Customs Officials Say Border Traffic Steady Amid Tighter Security

No, it’s not true that the U.S.-Mexico border will close to northbound travelers or that traffic will be reduced to just a few lanes if the United States moves from orange, a high risk of terrorism, to red, a severe risk level.

On the morning before the United States began bombing Iraq, rumors were flying among customs brokers, maquiladora managers, and others doing business along the border about how tighter security would restrict movement across the frontier.

But government officials are assuring the border business community that traffic will continue to be relatively free flowing.

“We are not reducing lanes. We are not closing ports of entry,” said Adele Fasano, interim director of field operations for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, a Homeland Security division.

Fasano did note that as inspections intensify, the wait to cross the border would increase. “Under code orange, we scrutinize each person and car more carefully,” she said. If the color-coded threat level changes to red the highest level border inspectors will step up enforcement measures.

Technology for inspecting cargo, such as X-ray machines, will be used more often. Also, more car hoods and doors will be opened during inspections. So far, there is no specific threat to border entries in San Diego.

Fasano said participation in SENTRI Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection helps move traffic along. Pre-screened drivers enrolled in SENTRI attach a transponder with background information to their cars and cross the border in a dedicated commuter lane. “We know a major issue here on the border is to eliminate the uncertainty of wait times,” Fasano said.

Mandy Jackson, San Diego Business Journal

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