New programs speed up border crossings

YUMA, AZ - People wait patiently to get across the U.S.-Mexico border. Everyone from workers, students, and even tourists cross every single day. 

It's a 24-hour operation at the San Luis Port of Entry. More than 5,000 people cross in the early morning hours, many of whom are migrant workers. Drivers say they wait up to two hours to get across into Mexico.

"Our mission is to balance security along with promoting tourism and the economy within the U.S. We want to encourage tourists to come over, but we want to make sure nothing illegal is going in and out," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Roque Caza.

While wait times are inevitable because CBP officers are making sure security is not breached, they have two new programs making the process easier for frequent border crossers on both sides.

The first program is called Sentri which provides expedited processing for those who qualify. Participants must go through an extensive background check and personal interview. They are still subjected to screenings and their privileges can be revoked if they break the rules.

The second is the Ready Program. Participants have a radio-frequency identification chip placed in their documents. Their documents are scanned well before they get to the inspection site. This allows the driver's information to pop up on the officer's screen immediately, allowing officers to review the information quickly and giving them more opportunity to focus on the people inside the car.

Both programs are running in San Luis and Nogales. CBP hopes to have the program available at all ports of entry in Arizona.

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