Border security remains a heated issue as America braces for the Wednesday opening of the country’s first cross-border airport terminal in California–one of the only such terminals in the world.
For just $18, passengers can cross from the U.S. to the Tijuana, Mexico airport and bypass what can be hours-long waits at the busiest land port of entry in the Western Hemisphere–the San Ysidro POE–at the U.S. Southern border in San Diego, California. Local ABC News affiliate 10 News reported that it will take a passenger a mere 5 minutes to reach a border inspector on the airport bridge.
Part of the draw is that the Tijuana airport serves many destinations that the main San Diego commercial airport, Lindbergh Field, does not. The venue is also often less expensive than other travel options as well.
Behind the bridge project is a private investor group. Chicago billionaire Sam Zell is mentioned in an AP report as one of the group’s members. The potential profit for the 390-foot Cross Border Xpress will come from in parking fees, a duty-free shop, rental car companies and food options. Parking will start at $10. The $18 in terminal fees will be mostly dedicated to paying border inspectors.
About 2.6 million people traveled from the Tijuana airport into the United States last year, according the report. Project officials expect half of those to be potential customers of the new border terminal. It will take a passenger about five minutes to reach inspection once arriving on the bridge. A hotel, shopping center and gas station are also in the plans for the site on the U.S. side.
There is a similar border crossing between Switzerland and France–and few others.
San Diego was home to massive illegal border crossings in the 1990s before the installation of more significant border fencing and protections. It is still subject to significant illegal border crossing activity dominated by human smugglers, according to U.S. Border Patrol agents who monitor the fence day in and day out.
In August agents told Breitbart News that the construction site for the pedestrian bridge was a place for increased illegal crossings or attempts. It is yet to be seen whether the finished bridge will manifest increased illegal crossings or new issues in human or drug smuggling activity.
Border security has been at the center of presidential debates in the U.S. A CNN poll taken during five days in early September of this year revealed that nearly nine in ten Americans consider illegal immigration an “important” issue in the 2016 Presidential election.
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