At the conclusion of the 26th Annual Border Governors Conference, the 10 US and Mexican border states issued a joint declaration that they would work together to cut down on crossing times at the US-Mexican border and take measures to increase security. The Conference points out that within the border area there are more than 6 million people. There has been creation of more than 100,000 new jobs near the border, and there are some 70 million northbound crossings each year.
The joint declaration is the result of work by the Conference’s Logistics & International Crossings Work Table that includes governmental official from the 10 states. They are California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas from the US and the Mexican states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora and Tamaulipas. The specific recommendations are:
- Supporting the US Customs and Border Protection’s efforts to obtain funding for additional border crossing inspectors and, along with Mexico’s Institute of Migration, using available funding to immediately fill inspector vacancies at land ports of entry along the US-Mexico border. It is also recommended that both agencies consider current and future staffing needs for expanded hours of operation, peak hours, double-stacked inspection booths and additional port projects.
- Reducing border wait times substantially by the year 2013, and completing Bi-national State-to-State Regional Border Master Plans among the 10 border states within three years. The plans will facilitate regional and infrastructure planning and strategic resource allocation in the US-Mexico Border Region.
- Supporting border states’ requests for a Presidential Permit for international crossings, such as the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry in San Diego County that utilizes alternative financing mechanisms to help minimize border wait times.
- Expanding the number of informational signs posted on the US side of the border to increase public awareness of weapons and ammunition laws. Although some ports of entry have informational warning signs, US travelers entering Mexico today may be unaware of regulations regarding weapons and ammunition and face immediate arrest and severe prosecution.