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05/18/2012

Breezing across the Mexican border

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I’ve written here and here about humongous wait times to get across the border. It’s no surprise, really, since an average of a million people cross the border every day.

But no all border crossings are equal. I happen to be at one now where wait times are rarely more than 10-15 minutes. It is the crossing at Ciudad Acuna in Coahuila state. On the U.S. side, the adjacent city is Del Rio, Texas.

I’ve been here for a few days, and people invariably talk about how easy it is to cross over. Some 2,000 people who work in Ciudad Acuna’s 63 factories, or maquiladoras, cross daily, Acuna’s mayor told me a few hours ago.

People cross to go grocery shopping, visit friends, have a legal beer (if you are a U.S. soldier from Laughlin AFB over 18 but under 21), go to work or sell blood plasma (that’s another story).

I crossed over in a taxi at about 9 a.m. and after a minute of questioning from a U.S. officer was on my way into Del Rio. Two hours later, I don’t think border formalities took any more than 30 seconds on the Mexican side. There were two vehicles in front of us that you see in the photo above.

This region, by the way, boasts that it is at the mid point of the 1,950 or so miles of border, making it closer to everywhere. But the only U.S. city it is close to is San Antonio, 144 miles away.

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Serenity Escapes

that's around where old 70s drug lord Pablo Acosta used to mule his drugs

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Tim

This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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