Port of entry kiosks to cut wait times - Tucson News Now

Port of entry kiosks to cut wait times

Posted: Updated:
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Technology is taking a bite out of wait times at the Nogales Port of Entry.

The Dennis DeConcini Port is just the third in the United States to have new, high-tech kiosks. The San Ysidro Port of Entry between San Diego and Tijuana, and the El Paso Port of Entry in Texas also have the kiosks.  

It's not the busiest border port, but with up to 16,000 border-crossers per day, the DeConcini Port of Entry isn't slow either.

David Barba and Victor Lomas cross monthly and say the wait times are typically about an hour, which they consider a long time when walking across.

The average wait time is 30 minutes, but the kiosks, installed Tuesday, could change that.

The kiosk scans your information so the officer knows who you are before you even get to them. That cuts off a few seconds, but those seconds add up.

"We've already seen a significant reduction in wait times, simply because of the expedited process," Nogales Port Director Guadalupe Ramirez said. "We're hoping our average wait time will drop at least  ten to 15 minutes.

While the officer is processing one traveler, the kiosk is doing the background work on the next.

Once your passport or visa has been read, the machine tells you when you can move forward.

"[It's] a little confusing at first, how to put it in and so on. Next time we come, we'll know what we're doing," said Ellen and Larry Lacroix, Tucson border-crossers.

If the machine doesn't read a document, the officer will take a closer look at that person.

"There's a lot of people who do not have documents, so it is better to see who has documents, real documents," said weekly crosser, Alejandra Lopes.

Ramirez said the machine will not read a fraudulent document, but CBP's office of field operations says the machine could help the economy if shorter wait times encourage more people to cross the border.

"These people come and they shop," Ramirez said. "That effects the economy of Arizona. These ports are very important to local businesses, and businesses all the way from here to Phoenix and beyond."

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow