U.S., Mexico expand border lanes

The United States and Mexico today agreed to better border security measures, including expanding dedicated commuter and commercial lanes that use technology to facilitate travel to and from crossing points.

Among the planned improvements:

* Eight new Secure Electronic Network for Traveler's Rapid Inspection commuter lanes will be added this year at six additional land ports, including San Ysidoro and Calexico in California; Nogales, Ariz.; and El Paso, Laredo, and Brownsville in Texas. The six locations account for more than 90 percent of cross-border trade.

* Lanes at five additional land ports using the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program, which enhances security and safety of commercial trade. The ports include Nogales, Calexico, and Brownsville as well as Pharr, Texas, and Otay Mesa, Calif.

* Border Crossing Card readers will be installed in the next few months by a joint working group of the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program at all ports of entry for pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Tom Ridge, the Homeland Security Department's secretary, and Santiago Creel, Mexico's Interior secretary, signed several agreements to improve security planning, communication and surveillance along the borders.

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