Skip to main content

Breaking News: Light Plane Crashes in Kearny Mesa Parking Lot; Two Injured (Posted 09/24/20 at 5:45 p.m.)

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice | Election 2020

Technology May Speed Crossings At U.S.-Mexico Border

New identification cards could quicken the time it takes people crossing the border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

— Customs and Border Patrol officials are hoping technology helps them speed travelers across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Photo credit: CBP Photography

The San Ysidro border crossing is the busiest land border crossing in the world. More than 45,000 cars cross there each day as well as 25,000 people on foot.

CBP officials are hoping new technology will help them speed crossings into the United States. Specifically, pedestrians can use the quick-moving ready lane if they have documents that contain radio frequency identification chips.

"Basically we envision U.S. passport cards, newer versions of the lawful permanent resident cards, laser visa border crossing cards," said Sidney Aki, the director of the San Ysidro Port of Entry. "Documents developed since 2008 with the RFID chip embedded we'll be able to scan efficiently in the kiosk and of course the information will be readily accessible to the officers."

Not everyone has those new high-tech documents, said Aki, but the lure of a shorter line might provide motivation. Essentially, travelers will do a job that border officers used to do.

"The passenger will be able scan their own documents when they're in the line," said Aki. "The CBP officer will receive that information, call the traveler over and already have the information readily available and already reviewed, ask a few questions and from there: entry into the United States."

That could trim up to 10 seconds off each person's wait in line, according to Aki. Multiplied by thousands, the savings could be significant.


San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.