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Installation of New Technology Expected to Slow Border Crossings

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are warning of delays this summer at California border crossings as they install new technology. They say the new tools will ultimately decrease wait times. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials plan to install Radio Frequency Identification or RFID technology at three California land border crossings in August and September.

Four days of construction at the San Ysidro Port of Entry begin August fourth. Then come Tecate and Otay Mesa.

Customs spokeswoman Kelly Klundt says they'll work at night and during off-peak hours.

Once installed, the RFID readers will send information stored on a radio chip embedded in new passport cards, for example, to border agents. Agents can pre-screen people before they arrive at the booth.

The wait time studies show seconds are saved, 8 to 10 seconds off every traveler who would use this kind of document.

Its not clear how many border crossers will use documents with radio chips.

In addition to new passport cards which haven't been issued, yet, Sentri cards will have RFID chips as will new border crossing cards for Mexican citizens.

Amy Isackson, KPBS news.

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