As Arizona Senators Jeff Flake (R) and John McCain (R) work to speed up the hiring process for Customs and Border Protection agents with the Boots on the Border Act, some business owners see this new piece of legislation as a step in the right direction and hope it will ease up the long lines to cross the border, which in turn will get more people in the U.S. to spend money.
“People who are crossing the border, they don’t know how long a wait time it’s going to be,” said Nogales business owner Bruce Bracker. “They’re supporting our local economy, they’re paying our sales taxes, they’re supporting our property taxes, if we don’t facilitate that crossing, then they’re going to change their buying habits and they’re going to stay in Mexico.”
In a news release, Sen. Flake said he plans to waive “onerous and duplicative CBP polygraph hiring requirements for applicants with qualifying law enforcement or military experience.”
Meanwhile, owner of the Villa’s Market in Nogales Aurellio Villa spoke with Tucson News Now’s Monica Grimaldo over the phone and said he doesn’t feel more CBP officers will make much of an impact on Nogales businesses.
“It’s been like this forever,” he said. “We’ve been losing business to Mexico for years.”
Villa said they recently closed the store on North Grand Avenue near the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry because they weren’t making enough money to keep it open.
He told the Nogales International “the poor economy, the peso-dollar exchange rate and long lines to cross the border” were a few of the reasons why he chose to shut the store down.
Their location on West Verde Drive and a wholesale distribution center and grocery store on North Ocean Garden Drive are still open.
Peter Tolano, who works in Nogales, AZ, said he crosses the border frequently and feels more CBP officers and agents will be beneficial, especially when it comes to the lines.
Tucson News Now spoke with Tolano as he was waiting for a friend to make his way into the U.S.
“When I’m working in Nogales, Mexico, I have a SENTRI passport, so it’s very easy for me to cross the border,” said Tolano. “But in this case, my friend is in Mexico and he doesn’t have a SENTRI passport, so I’ve been waiting for almost an hour and a half for him to cross the border. So, obviously, it’s going to help a lot if we have more CBP’s … more control, and we don’t have to be waiting that much time.”