Since last September pedestrians walking into Mexico via San Ysidro have a new crossing route. The new turnstiles at the U.S. - Mexico border were inaugurated as part of a bigger bi-national effort to make a more efficient border crossing experience into both countries.
Located just east of the San Yisidro port of entry, it replaced the pedestrian crossing that was at the port's western end, near the UETA duty free shop.
The former president of Mexico Felipe Calderon officially inaugurated El Chaparral entrance last month, which is a new facility that has a 22 gate port, an X-ray machine, and vehicle scales designed to uncover any smuggling of drugs, money, and weapons to Mexican cartels.
With the exception of when CBP would do random checkups at the end of the I-5 freeway, driving into Mexico from San Diego was a mostly a hassle-free experience for many years: There were few customs inspectors, fewer gates, and most of the time, no questions asked, but that all changed a few weeks ago.
“They have all kinds of personnel checking cars; they have customs officials, agriculture inspectors, and the military. From planning to execution this is Mexican bureaucracy at its best.” said Doctor Linda Avena, who is from Tijuana.
Mexican Custom officials that were interviewed by the Zeta weekly journal, stated that they were trained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, but since Mexico lacks the legal frame work for inspecting certain items, and lack of information of what can be allowed to be introduced into the country, many times these decisions are only based on the criteria of the Mexican Customs agent.