Driving into Mexico has been a hassle-free experience for decades: few customs inspectors, even fewer gates, and for most border crossers, no questions asked. The Los Angeles Times says that is about to change. The Mexican government is modernizing its ports of entry, including its biggest crossing in Tijuana. The new infrastructure — which includes gates, cameras. and vehicle scales — is meant to help curtail the flow of drug money and weapons to Mexican organized crime groups.
Bolstered security means more border-crossing logjams. Business groups fear that the new measures will deal another blow to a fragile regional economy. Already, cross-border trips from San Diego that once took five minutes can take an hour or more. Mexican President Felipe Calderon, under pressure to show progress in his nearly three-year offensive against drug cartels, vows to continue making changes, saying the measures are a necessary sacrifice. Since 2008, more than 1,000 people have been slainin Tijuana, many of them with guns believed to have been obtained in the U.S. “We want security,” Calderon said in Tijuana. “This requires sacrifice and measures that permit us to stop the trafficking of weapons, drugs, drug money and criminals across this border.”