CBP Unveils Upgrades at El Paso, Texas Port of Entry
As a steady stream of northbound pedestrian traffic passed directly behind him, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar suggested that those border crossers were moving more quickly than they had been just 36 hours earlier. That's because many of those arriving border crossers had been processed through a new pedestrian inspection system now being piloted at the Paso Del Norte international crossing in downtown El Paso.
"At these new RFID-enabled pedestrian gates, a border crosser automatically gains access and pre-loads information using the RFID technology before encountering a CBP officer," said Aguilar during a media conference. "The system automatically reads the card and alerts the CBP officer to any issue before the pedestrian arrives at the primary inspection booth. We are assessing the time savings and other benefits of this pilot project, but early indications are positive."
Deputy Commissioner Aguilar was joined by U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes for the announcement that also included a discussion of several other major upgrades at El Paso port facilities including new Ready Lanes at Paso Del Norte and Bridges of the Americas crossings. The new Ready Lanes will supplement those already in use at the Ysleta crossing at the El Paso port.
New LED signage above the primary inspection booths at the PDN and the Ysleta crossings were also highlighted. The easy to see and read bilingual signage can be changed as traffic dictates and provides valuable instructions and information to travelers as they approach the primary inspection station.
Aguilar and Reyes toured the facility to observe all the new systems in use. They watched as border crossers used the new pedestrian gate system as CBP officers provided guidance and instruction to arriving people. They also met with CBPO's working the primary inspection booths to see how the information collected by the advance read of border crossing documents was displayed on inspection booth monitors.
The pair was then led outside to observe the new Ready Lanes and LED signage. El Paso Port Director Hector Mancha showed how CBP officers were able to quickly open a closed lane to traffic by switching the signage above the lane to indicate the booth was now available for Ready Lane users.
"We anticipate an 18-second savings per vehicle that uses these ready lanes based on our experience at other similar lanes that are in use on the southern border," said Aguilar. "We believe through improvements to our operations, and with help from the traveling public, we can meet the highest calling of our security mission while accommodating and expediting traffic."
A final improvement that was discussed but is not yet operational is a new shortwave AM radio station transmitter being installed at the Ysleta crossing. The station will broadcast bilingual CBP messages to border crossers who will be able to tune their car radio to a designated frequency to listen to the information. The system is expected to be operational before the end of the year.
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.