Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016



Not since 1848 has there been so much focus on the USA / Mexico International Border. It feels like another American / Mexican war is occurring. First, presidential candidate Donald Trump demanded that the nation of Mexico build a huge wall. Then, former Mexican president Vicente Fox replied; "No, way José! Even the Pope weighed in! Last month, he held an enormous Catholic Mass in Ciudad Juarez. Meanwhile, the event was simulcast on the big screen in the Sun Bowl Stadium across the Rio Grande River in El Paso, Texas. It seems everyone today has an opinion on what should be done to the troubled crossing.

First of all, why is this one border such a huge issue? Of the thousands of international borders worldwide, none has the immense disparity of wealth that exists between the USA and Mexico. This enormous difference in GNP directly influences the economies of the people who live nearby. Work is better on one side.. but affordable housing is better on the other. Hence, this border is the busiest in the world. An average of 230,000 legal crossings occur every single day. (Second place is the Chunnel Tunnel linking the UK and France at 46,500).

Secondly, the US / Mexico border is LONG. At 2,954 miles it is the tenth longest international boundary in the world. It boasts 45 official crossing stations, many of which are so busy they never close. While the areas around urban centers (Tijuana / San Diego & El Paso / Juarez) are heavily fenced and monitored, the large stretches across the Sonoran Desert are not. There are no demarcations whatsoever. And, as everyone knows, half a million migrants cross these dangerous stretches illegally every year. While the US Congress passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, a whopping 61% of the border is still open to the rest of the world.

While politicians in far-off DC and popes in distant Rome voice their opinions of what should be done, the millions of people who live next to the border simply ignore them. Instead, they concentrate of ways to use the border to improve their lives. For example, 10% of the Tijuana labor force works in San Diego. Thousands of American college students live in low-rent Rosarito and commute to wealthy universities in La Jolla. With the help of the newly released US Passport Card, daily commuters can simply scan their way across the border.

Which brings us to the subject of this week's blog: The brand-new CROSS BORDER XPRESS BRIDGE. See, Tijuana International Airport is actually located a mere 390 feet from the border. However, it is horribly inaccessible, the terminal is located 20 miles from the nearest crossing.  In a true show of unity, the two nations built a simple pedestrian bridge to allow folks easy access to the facility. Believe it or not, the EXPRESS BRIDGE is the only binational airport terminal in the world: Check-in, customs and passport control all under the same roof! Lost in all the anger and debate, was this very positive event. See, there are solutions to the troubled international borders. Trump's shouting and Fox's gritos only cloud logic and should not be heard!

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