Border-Crossing Regulations Implemented, Longer Waits Created

Early-morning pedestrian traffic from Mexico into the U.S. at San Ysidro is taking longer due to the implementation of document requirements as demanded by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

For several years, border agents have warned travelers of stricter impending document requirements, but the implementation was slow in coming — until two weeks ago. Since then, lines of pedestrians, most of whom are crossing the border to go to work, have been up to a quarter of a mile long at 4:30 a.m. during the workweek. Previously, if one arrived at the border before 5:00 a.m. the wait was minimal, averaging 15 to 20 minutes, frequently with short lines inside the building.

Now, documentation is subject to verification three times by U.S. border personnel: the first time upon passing through the entry “cage” (about 40 feet from the international border) and a second time upon entering the building, 250 feet further into U.S. territory. If one’s documentation is suitable, (passport, passport card, enhanced driver’s license, SENTRI card), one is allowed to proceed to the WHTI line, where documentation is checked again; the wait to cross at that point is about 15 minutes,.

If, however, one lacks the requisite documentation, one is sent to another line, where the wait can take another hour or two as more thorough background checks are made. The people that are sent to this secondary line are frequently surly, although most sit down on the floor, backs against the corridor wall, and wait.

For more information on documentation requirements to enter the U.S., click here.

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Before all this talk of added documentation requirements started a few years ago, I used to regularly hop across the border, place a handful of hopeful bets at one of the Caliente sports books, and then hurry up to wait in line to get back to the Blue Line, head home, and watch my teams lose.


If the individual college teams I was picking had 70% or better odds of covering based on past performance, then I could put together a 4-team ticket backed with a teaser and a full set of four 3-team tickets paying out in my favor better that 70% of the time (probability students will tell you this is one heck of a lot easier said than done on what Caliente considers long odds or worse). Made a killing in the first three weeks of the 2006 season but got lazy and didn't track team injuries, so I was all done by the end of Week 5... my system imploded like a cheap AIG credit default swap in a Lehman Brothers' fire sale.

I haven't really gone back since we got serious about rebuilding the Berlin Wall on the southern edge of San Diego County.

At the same time, it might be profitable to do start doing the team research now then sell my "Hot Water" betting system to subscribers starting next summer...

Maybe I just found myself a job!!!

Betting sports teams is tricky business. I've thought about pitching a column idea that would cover gambling, not certain if the Reader would be interested (I could easily get enough advertising to make it worthwhile), as they already have a "sort-of" sports column. I don't think that there's a system that leads to success, regardless of what one hears on the radio sometimes. The key is to look for value, which means betting the money-line rather than the spread.

Regarding the story, it's the government punishing people because the government refuses to grant them a passport. I cannot obtain a passport, I wasted over $200 trying. Yet, they punch up my CA I.D. and proceed to tell me that my passport is being processed (which isn't true). Now they simply wish to punish people. It has nothing to do with security.

RE odds:

Speculating on college football teams is fun and sometimes profitable. I don't really have any liquidity to start up again... I'm not a Wall Street financial institution... so maybe I'll have to make like a municipality and issue some bonds rated at something far less than San Diego City's AA-.

RE punished persons at border:

That's the other reason I don't cross anymore. It's a good thing Mexico doesn't need my tourism, and if I went, America doesn't really need me to come back.

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