U.S. and Mexican officials came together on August 1 at the Douglas Port of Entry to announce the formal grand opening of the Secured Electronic Network Traveler Rapid Inspection Lane, also known as SENTRI. A ribbon-cutting ceremony signaled the formal launch of operations of the frequent traveler program.
Officials from both sides of the border addressed the border operations in the growing region.
Arizona Mexico Commission Director, Margie Emmermann delivered remarks in the pouring rain.
“I think that one of the best ways that Arizona can be more globe and competitive is to recognize that we are a bi-national region and to work with our counterparts on both sides of the border,” said the director about the SENTRI Lane. “I think this is fabulous.”
U.S. Customs, The City of Douglas and Agua Prieta staff have worked together for the past nine months to implement the opening the SENTRI Lane.
“Today, we celebrate the results of a true collaborative bi-national private public partnership,” Douglas Mayor Danny Ortega Jr. said. “This is an example of how two communities and two countries came together to address an issue of great importance to the welfare of the residents of the two communities.”
“This project partnership has cleared the way for future short-term high impact/low cost projects, as our current port will soon reach its maximum operational capacity,” Ortega said. “But ports of entry, due to their complex bi-national nature, take years from planning to reality. Douglas and Agua Prieta have identified the general location of the new port of entry and are now traversing the complex bi-national process to secure the necessary permitting for the project.”
Today’s SENTRI lane opening would not have been possible without the corroboration from the cities of Agua Prieta and Douglas, (A) Director of Tucson Field Office, William Brooks said.
“CBP’s trusted traveled programs are the way of the future. The implementation of the SENTRI program here benefits both the local communities. This ribbon cutting ceremony signifies a step forward in formal launching of the trusted travel program here in Douglas,” Brooks added. “As we gather here today we recognize the success of this project we mark our way forward building partnerships, providing enhance border security while expediting entry processing.”
Mayor Ortega and Irma Villalobos presented a plaque as a simple of gratitude to those that made this project a reality.
The SENTRI program was first implemented at the Otay Mesa passenger port of entry in California in 1995. In 1996, the SENTRI project received the Hammer Award from the Office of the Vice President in recognition for developing the world's first automated, secure inspection system in advance of the expected completion date. In 1997, SENTRI was nominated for a Computerworld Smithsonian Award, an annual award that recognizes the most creative and innovative uses of information technology benefiting society. The program was also a top-25 finalist of the "Innovations in American Government" award, among the most prestigious of public service awards that honors federal, state and local government programs that invent new ways to resolve public policy challenges.