EL CENTRO – Imperial County is considering the use of public benefit funds from the solar energy projects as cash contribution to the federal government to entice them to add pedestrian lanes at the port of entry in Calexico.
Ten to fourteen thousand people pass through the pedestrian lanes daily at the Calexico Port of Entry.
The Ready Lanes Kiosks have alleviated some of the foot traffic congestion, but many still look for relief to the hours long wait.
“We came in and the line was so long, maybe an hour, and just to cross for five or 10 minutes in Calexico,” pedestrian Raul Munoz Carillo said. Carillo added that he would cross more regularly for shopping and errands if he didn’t have to worry about the long wait line.
The county is anxious to see the wait time decrease specifically with farm workers who cross in the early morning hours for work.
“They deserve an expedited crossing which we don’t have. Not only the folks that are working and commuting, but also those that go to Mexicali for business reasons as well,” Board of Supervisor Chairman John Renison said.
Renison said he hopes to place the idea on the agenda soon to have a formal discussion of gifting the money.
“It’s a band aid remedy for now,” Renison said of the current system.
The Office of the Speaker of the House has invited an official contingency to come to Washington D.C. in one week to discuss border issues.
Renison said the county will request $350 million to build a new port of entry.
“We feel very strongly that 2014 is going to be a banner year for immigration reform and for possibly funding ports of entry and the reason I say that is because Congress passed the two year budget. They’re not arguing anymore right now. It looks like everybody’s on the same page. So, the word in D.C. is’ let’s get immigration reform done,’” Renison said.
Renison is hoping to have a formal discussion of this expansion idea with the board of supervisors within the next few months.