CBP Launches Campaign Designed to Increase Participation in Paso Del Norte Pedestrian SENTRI/Dedicated Commuter Lane
El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants more pedestrians to use the Secure Electronic Network for Traveler's Rapid Inspection lane at the Paso Del Norte international bridge. The SENTRI program is commonly referred to as the Dedicated Commuter Lane or DCL in El Paso.
During the first week of March, CBP officers at the PDN crossing are opening a designated lane exclusively for students who possess the F-1 educational visa. The lane is open between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. through Friday. Students using this lane will be given a bilingual flyer promoting the SENTRI program as a way to encourage their participation.
"This lane has been open since last April and has not been utilized to the level we expected," said William Molaski, CBP El Paso port director. "This lane is a time saver and is perfect for students and any other person who regularly enters the U.S. as a pedestrian at the PDN crossing."
Interested participants can learn more and apply by visiting the travel page on the CBP Web site. The membership fee is $122.25 which will give members access to the dedicated pedestrian and vehicle lanes for five years. Applicants must pass a background check, fingerprint submission, and an in-person interview with a CBP officer.
CBP did staff a designated student-only pedestrian lane from April 2007 until December 2009 as a way to best manage a portion of the arriving pedestrian traffic at the Paso Del Norte crossing due to infrastructure issues and limited pedestrian lanes.
Facility improvements (PDN renovation) and changes in technology and border crossing requirements (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) have created a situation where CBP can now better serve a larger percentage of the pedestrian crossing population by eliminating the student lane and replacing it with lanes that specifically serve U.S. citizens with appropriate WHTI documentation, SENTRI/DCL card holders, and bus passengers. These changes were implemented in January 2010.
CBP's SENTRI program provides dedicated vehicle lanes and expedited processing at various ports of entry on the Southwest border for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Currently the SENTRI program in El Paso has approximately 26,000 members. SENTRI/DCL members in El Paso will have a choice of quickly entering the U.S. on foot at PDN or via one of the vehicular SENTRI/DCL crossing at either the Stanton Street international crossing or the Ysleta international crossing. CBP officers at the Stanton crossing process approximately 110,000 vehicles per month while the Ysleta SENTRI crossing processes about 55,000 entries monthly.
In addition to the quick crossings associated with SENTRI membership, program members will receive an enhanced Radio Frequency Identification card that meets the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative for proper documents for U.S. citizens who cross the border by land or sea, which went into effect last June. The SENTRI card can be used at any land border crossing in lieu of a U.S. passport or U.S. passport card. More information on WHTI requirements can be found at on the WHTI Web site.
The SENTRI/DCL program was first implemented in El Paso at the Stanton crossing in September 1999. The Ysleta SENTRI/DCL facility opened in December 2005.
SENTRI card holders from El Paso can also use their documents at pedestrian SENTRI lanes in San Ysidro and Calexico ports of entry as well as vehicular SENTRI lanes in San Ysidro, Calexico, Nogales, Laredo, Hidalgo and Brownsville. A similar program called Nexus serves citizens of the U.S. and Canada on the northern border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.