|CBP Announces Hours of Operation for Pedestrian SENTRI Lane at San Ysidro|
(Monday, September 08, 2008) Washington U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at San Ysidro, Calif. today announced the hours of operation of a new permanent fast-pass pedestrian lane scheduled to open tomorrow that will be the nations first for pedestrian travelers at Americas busiest port of entry.The new Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) pedestrian program, which will allow members to expedite their border crossing on foot, will be open for use every day, including weekends and holidays, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.SENTRI members now will have a choice of quickly entering the U.S. at the San Ysidro port on foot or via one of up to four SENTRI vehicle lanes if traveling by car.San Ysidro port officials also announced that they plan to keep one or more SENTRI vehicle lanes open around the clock at the port of entry based on results of a 24-hour test that ran from January 1 to June 30. They concluded from the test results that sufficient SENTRI vehicular traffic exists to warrant expanding the hours of operation from 20 hours daily beginning at 4 a.m. to 24-hour operation.CBPs SENTRI program provides dedicated vehicle lanes and expedited processing at various ports of entry on the Southwest border for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Currently the SENTRI program in the San Diego/Tijuana region has more than 97,000 members.The program will give members access to the dedicated pedestrian and vehicle lanes for five years. Applicants must pass a background check, fingerprint submission, and an in-person interview with a CBP officer.Additionally, program members will receive an enhanced Radio Frequency Identification SENTRI card that meets the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative for proper documents for U.S. citizens who cross the border by land or sea, which will go into effect June 1, 2009.Interested participants are asked to apply early for the new program by visiting the Travel page on the CBP website. The application process takes approximately six to eight weeks to complete. The membership fee is $122.25.Participants in an earlier SENTRI pedestrian pilot program, in effect at the San Ysidro port since August 2004 to test the efficacy of an expedited pedestrian lane, must re-apply now to avoid loosing membership in the program. The approximately 3,500 members who participated in the pilot program did so at no charge so CBP could gather data and evaluate the concept. The test program membership will end on September 9, 2008. The SENTRI program was first implemented at Otay Mesa, Calif. in 1995, and has grown to include 16 lanes at the nine largest ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border including San Ysidro, Calif.; Calexico, Calif.; Nogales, Ariz.; two crossings in El Paso, Texas; and the Texas ports of Laredo, Hidalgo and Brownsville. More than 165,000 travelers from both sides of the border are currently registered in the SENTRI program.A similar program called Nexus serves citizens of the U.S. and Canada on the northern border.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.