A Border Patrol agent is positioned by the border fence.
A Border Patrol agent is positioned by the border fence. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Wednesday led a forum with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection following the announcement of plans to lift Land Port of Entry travel restrictions.

“I am pleased that the chamber hosted this forum today, given the urgency of addressing the upcoming changes in land port of entry travel restrictions,” said Jerry Sanders, chamber president and CEO.

“We must continue working collaboratively with federal authorities and local stakeholders to help reduce impacts due to border delays — ensuring our region, economies, and communities on both sides of the border are thriving.”

The forum allowed chamber members and local stakeholders to learn about CBP efforts to increase efficiencies at cargo inspections, plans to fill vacancies at regional ports of entry, challenges as a result of the pandemic that have increased border wait times, and the impacts of limited travel across shared ports of entry with Mexico and Canada.

Speakers included Thomas Overacker with the CBP and San Diego County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Nora Vargas.

“Our businesses and binational community were severely impacted by border restrictions and can now move toward efficient and complete economic recovery,” said Kenia Zamarripa, chamber executive director of international business affairs.

“We are also grateful for Vice Chair Vargas’ leadership and commitment to our region and appreciate her efforts to champion economic opportunities for our businesses, workforce, and families impacted by restrictions.”

In March 2020, the U.S. implemented travel restrictions impacting land ports of entry at the northern and southern borders. The chamber joined business and community leaders to urge the federal government to lift restrictions, citing economic impact.

–City News Service