The first Douglas-Agua Prieta Port of Entry Stakeholder Group Meeting was held on Nov. 15 at the Douglas Visitors Center.
Representatives from both Douglas and Agua Prieta came together to discuss and resolve some of the issues with the Douglas POE on Nov. 15. By Trisha Maldonado/Douglas Dispatch
The purpose of the meeting was to develop a collaborative working group where problems and issues are brought forth.
They hope to work together to identify and develop strategies to mitigate and solve the issues at hand that result from the complexities of international trade.
“This is the first meeting of many that will take place from this point forward,” City Manager Carlos De La Torre said.
“I am looking forward to the discussions today. I am looking forward to what we can do. While we are focusing on the long term, I feel that we need to be aware of what we need to address short term, in order to help make this port of entry more efficient,” Mayor Danny Ortega Jr. said. “I believe they are doing all they can with what they have at the port. But there are some limitations and I’m hoping those can come out today and I hope we can address those issues.”
When asked what her vision for the relationship of Agua Prieta and Douglas would be, Agua Prieta Mayor Irma Villalobos said, “We are on the same page about the needs of both cities. We see the need of a SENTRI line to benefit not just the crossing time but to improve imports and exports since Agua Prieta is growing not just in population but in creating more jobs.”
Douglas Port of Entry Director, Michael Humphries announced there would be some operational modifications for a secondary south bound inspection lane at the Douglas Port of Entry in the next few days. This is an effort to expedite the south bound inspections during peak hours. During this meeting, Mr. Michael Humphries, Douglas POE Director, informed the group that they will be making some operational modification to set up a secondary south bound inspection lane at the Douglas POE. During the meeting a small working group was established to begin the development and implementation of infrastructure improvements required to install a Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) lane at the port.
SENTRI provides expedited Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Applicants must voluntarily undergo a thorough biographical background check against criminal, law enforcement, customs, immigration, and terrorist indices; a 10-fingerprint law enforcement check; and a personal interview with a CBP Officer.
Once an applicant is approved they are issued a Radio Frequency Identification Document (RFID) that will identify their record and status in the CBP database upon arrival at the U.S. port of entry. A sticker decal is also issued to the applicant’s vehicle or motorcycle. SENTRI users have access to specific, dedicated primary lanes into the United States.
“This group will not only address current issues,” De La Torre said. “They will also be key in developing the vision for the development of a long term plan and strategy in relation to international trade that will not only benefit the cities of Douglas and Agua Prieta but the region as a whole.”
The next Douglas-Agua Prieta Port of Entry Stakeholders Group meeting is scheduled for January 10, 2013, 11a.m. at the Douglas Visitor Center.