Commuter Card Program

Because of our proximity to the border, a great deal of employees are residing in Tijuana and coming to work every day to Otay Mesa. Many of these employees have a legal permanent resident card (known as green card). This permit allows you to work in the US but also requires you to reside in the US. People in this situation are not in compliance with US law and can face repercussions, such as inadmissibility into the US.

Fortunately, there is a commuter card program that allows people to work in the US and reside in Mexico. This program will allow your employees to abide by the law and be eligible for trusted traveler program, such as SENTRI and Global Entry. This can be a huge productivity boost for your companies because employees would see a dramatic reduction in wait times when crossing the border in addition to more predictable wait times, therefore decreasing tardiness to work, not to mention a significant increase in quality of life for workers.

Check out these presentations by the Smart Border Coalition that outline the key benefits and potential disadvantages of the Commuter Card Program. If you are interested in a detailed presentation about this program to your employees, please email our Executive Director, Alejandra Mier y Teran.

ENGLISH VERSION | SPANISH VERSION

Hurricane Support through the International Community Foundation

Tropical Storm Lidia Recovery Effort in Baja California Sur: The International Community Foundation is seeking support for the Baja California Disaster Relief Fund to rebuild this beautiful region, which is in so much need of assistance. ICF has received several requests from groups on-the-ground that urgently need our help. Please consider a contribution to help southern Baja recover.

Hurricane Irma Barbuda Recovery Effort: ICF is partnering with The Waitt Institute and Waitt Foundation to establish the Barbuda Recovery and Conservation, Trust Fund. The Waitt Foundation is seeding this Fund with a $100,000 grant and will match contributions made to this fund. Waitt staff are heading to Antigua and Barbuda to provide coordination and first-hand support.

Earthquake in Mexico Recovery Effort: Finally, any contributions to the International Relief Fund will aid in the recovery process that is required by the devastation caused by the magnitude-8.1 earthquake that occurred in Chiapas, and was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City. The earthquake was registered off Mexico’s southern coast while heavy rains from Hurricane Katia lashed the east. There are reports of over 50 deaths in Chiapas, Tabasco, and Oaxaca and we are sure the region will need significant aid in the coming days and weeks.

 

New Customs Program to Reduce Cargo Wait Times

Mexican Customs officers will jointly process cargo with CBP at the Otay Mesa Cargo Port of Entry. This new program, which has been implemented in other ports, means northbound cargo wait times of approximately 4 hours will be reduced to 30 minutes. This program is only eligible for C-TPAT certified users, which account for approximately 35% of cargo transactions in Otay Mesa. Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) is expected to be operational as early as next month.

The proposed weekday schedule for UCP is from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm. The weekend schedule will be announced shortly.

The pre-inspection facility in Tijuana will continue operating for now, but the goal is to transition to UCP in Otay Mesa.

The Otay Mesa Chamber would like to commend CBP and Mexican Customs for implementing this program, which promises to increase competitiveness in our region by dramatically reducing cargo wait times.

 

Southbound Border Closures & Detours

Starting Saturday, September 23, 2017, at 3 a.m. and continuing through 12 p.m. Monday, September 25, all southbound lanes of I-5 and I-805 will be closed to traffic south of the SR-905. Detours will be provided for destinations south of SR-905 (residences, business, etc.), however, vehicular access into Mexico through the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry will be closed. For vehicles wanting to enter Mexico during this time, a detour to the Otay Land Port of Entry will also be in place. Northbound travelers (pedestrian and vehicular) crossing the border from Mexico and southbound pedestrians crossing the border into Mexico will be unaffected.

DETOUR MAP – CLICK HERE

 

San Ysidro Port of Entry Northbound Exit Lanes to Freeways will be Limited due to Temporary Closures

In order to safely construct the skybridge joining the existing administrative building to the new pedestrian building, GSA will be instituting nightly closures of the three easternmost northbound vehicle exit lanes at the San Ysidro POE. Because of this, the exit to the Rail Court off-ramp will be closed during the intermittent night closures.

The first set of recurring nightly closures start each evening at 4 p.m. and end at 4 a.m., starting on September 12 until September 16. The second set start at 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. from September 18 through December 30.

Ready and SENTRI lanes should remain open, they’ll just have to exit through the westernmost northbound vehicle exit lanes at the port.

 

Otay Mesa Transit Center Under Construction

Construction is underway on the Otay Mesa Transit Center, a new transportation facility that will be near the United States-Mexico Port of Entry. The Otay Mesa Transit Center will enhance connectivity for cross-border travelers by providing dedicated access to the future South Bay Rapid service and local bus routes operated by San Diego Metropolitan Transit System. This will improve traffic flow and the movement of goods and people at the border crossing and in the surrounding Otay Mesa community.

During construction, businesses near Nicola Tesla Court can expect intermittent noise, dust, and reduced on-street parking. Motorists can expect periodic lane closures along Siempre Viva Road between Otay Center Drive and Paseo De Las Americas, and along eastbound State Route 905 at the Siempre Viva Road on- and off-ramps. For the latest construction and project updates, please visit KeepSanDiegoMoving.com/SouthBayRapid.

The Otay Mesa Transit Center is being constructed as part of the South Bay Rapid project, a $128 million effort to provide travelers with a new, frequent, and reliable transit choice. The 26-mile Rapid route will run between the Otay Mesa Port of Entry and Downtown San Diego via a dedicated transit guideway along East Palomar Street and Eastlake Parkway in Chula Vista. When completed, South Bay Rapid will connect residents to employment and activity centers in Downtown San Diego and South County.

 

Public Comment Opportunity for NAFTA Negotiations

On May 18th, the Administration formally notified Congress of its intent to commence negotiations with Canada and Mexico with respect to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As stipulated by the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA), this notification triggers a 90-day period before negotiations with Canada and Mexico can begin (no earlier than August 16th, 2017).
As part of this process – and in an effort to hear from you – the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has published a Federal Register Notice (FRN) soliciting public comments on the Agreement – which will assist the Administration in identifying its negotiating priorities. We encourage you to share the link and submit comments.

The FRN comment period will be open through June 12th, 2017. To submit comments, or to request to participate in a public hearing on June 27th at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, DC, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

 

Make your voice heard regarding this important trade policy update.

Trade Related Executive Orders Published by the White House

On April 29, the White House published two executive orders impacting trade policies:

A) The first one establishes a new “Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.”

B) The second one mandates performance reviews of existing U.S. trade agreements by the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General, and the Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.

“The findings of the performance reviews shall help guide United States trade policy and trade negotiations. The Secretary of Commerce, the USTR, and other heads of executive departments and agencies, as appropriate, shall take every appropriate and lawful action to address violations of trade law, abuses of trade law, or instances of unfair treatment. Each performance review shall be submitted to the President by the Secretary of Commerce and the USTR within 180 days of the date of this order.”

Click here to read the Executive Order

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On a related note, Trump trade officials apparently prefer a tri-lateral NAFTA deal 
Click here for related Reuters article

Changes to Northbound Pedestrian Crossing at San Ysidro this Monday (05/22)

Starting this Monday, May 22nd, pedestrian Northbound crossing at San Ysidro will temporarily move to the Milo building and will offer greater capacity (8 lanes). This will allow for repairs and remodeling at the Historic Customs House. The Southbound pedestrian crossing at San Ysidro will not have any changes.

Click here for the official notice in Spanish