Insights & News
SBC Bulletin, December 20, 2021
As we approach the end of another year, there is a flurry of activity that takes place in our office, our home, and at the border. This holiday season we are thankful for the reopening of borders to most people, the end of a difficult period for many merchants, the access to vaccines, and the renewed hope of better days to come. We also remember those we lost along the way, the families and friends who loved them, people who had a long bout with the virus and survived it, the businesses that closed their doors forever, and the people affected because of it.
SBC Bulletin, November 8, 2021
Border restrictions have become far more manageable. At last so-called non-essential travelers with the appropriate travel documents can once again cross into the U.S., needing only to hold proof of vaccination. Looking forward, in January 2022 anyone crossing the border for either essential or non-essential travel and who is not a U.S. citizen or a green card holder will have
SBC Bulletin, September 30, 2021
This week Montserrat Caballero Ramírez starts her term as the first elected woman to head Baja California’s most populous city. She succeeds Karla Ruiz McFarland, who as Interim Mayor for the past eight months made history of her own, as first woman mayor of the city.
SBC Bulletin, August 25, 2021
We are approaching the start of two new administrations in the City of Tijuana and the State of Baja California that could change the way our communities work together for a smarter border. There is hope for improved results this time. Governor Marina del Pilar Ávila will be in office for six years and Mayor Montserrat Caballero in her position for three years. Both leaders represent the MORENA party and are part of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s push for more women leaders in key city and state governments. Both cabinets contain enterprising people, and I have a sense that these teams are genuinely committed to productive border agendas.
SBC Bulletin, July 22, 2021
Once again, restrictions to non-essential travel have been extended for yet another month. The border communities were notified on July 19th, just two days ago. I thought that last month would be the final month of full restrictions, but it is status quo once again.
SBC Bulletin, May 12 2021
Enduring Inaction on Lifting or Loosening Travel Restrictions at Land Ports Our Stakeholders Working Committee meeting last week started with a sobering dialogue about protracted restrictions on non-essential cross-border travel and how our binational community has failed to get restrictions loosened or lifted. There is a great frustration for an untold number of port of entry users. It appears that we, the binational community, have not been forceful or creative enough.
Bulletin, April 23, 2021
What will it take to lift current restrictions for “non-essential” crossings that have been in place for 14 months? Last year the number of travelers through our land ports fell by 38%. Both sides felt the economic earthquake which continues to damage our way of life. Add to this the opportunity costs of the missing new ideas, business, and relationships smothered by the prohibitions on movement.
Bulletin, April 7, 2021
Happy Easter to everyone! This time Easter has had a more significant impact in my family and community life as covid vaccinations start to turn the tide and optimism begins to percolate into our binational region, despite the much lower vaccination levels in Tijuana and Baja as a whole.
Bulletin, March 18, 2021
With the greatest surge in migrant and asylum seekers at the U.S. southwestern border in 20 years, the Biden administration will have to quickly establish an efficient system to manage the influx of people. This kind of event tends to “crowd out” other acute issues at our border such as continuing restrictions to non-essential travel and wastewater treatment in the Tijuana River Valley.
Bulletin, February 22, 2021
Jaime González Luna Bucher, Smart Border Coalition co-founder, esteemed friend, and binational advocate for decades, lost his life last Saturday. A consummate binational entrepreneur and businessman, Jaime directed Bucher Industries, a company that offers contract manufacturing, logistics and warehousing and business incubation. He was also president of BOF Productions, a film and video company with projects in Baja California and Southern California.
Bulletin, February 5, 2021
With signaling from the new White House and the AMLO administration moving into concrete discussions about cooperation on health, migration, infrastructure, security, and competitiveness, it is almost time to “kiss and make up.”
Bulletin, January 25, 2022
Already, 2022 has proven that change is the constant in our border environment. In the last month alone, the Omicron variant has infected one quarter of all the people who have ever gotten infected since the pandemic started in the United States. Though there have been rumors of a border closure, there is no official information that would lead us to believe there will be one.
Bulletin, February 23, 2022
“Let’s finish the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry by 2023”, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar dared the 40-person audience at the site of the new port last week. Though the stated deadline is fall of 2024, everyone seemed to agree that getting the port done even sooner is an admirable objective. But is it feasible? What was the Ambassador’s intention? All key actors in the port’s completion –on both sides—took the dare very seriously, and I suspect we will be hearing from them soon. Salazar seems to be in a hurry, what with all the backlog of infrastructure projects we have along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Smart Border Coalition Bulletin, March 25, 2022
The War in the Ukraine is having consequences at our border. With over 3 million Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Europe and many of those trying to reach the United States, thousands are making their way to Mexico through Cancun and Mexico City, with California as a final destination. Ukrainians are now walking up to the U.S. border at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry. After some initial obstacles at our ports, they are being admitted as asylum seekers so long as they show valid documentation. This has created some resentment from NGOs and immigration groups who support asylum seekers from other parts of the world.
Bulletin, March 25, 2022
Bulletin The War in the Ukraine is having consequences at our border. With over 3 million Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Europe and many of those trying to reach the United States, thousands are making their way to Mexico through Cancun and Mexico City, with California as a final destination. Ukrainians are now walking up to the U.S. border at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry. After some initial obstacles at our ports, they are being admitted as asylum seekers so long as they show valid documentation. This has created some resentment from NGOs and immigration groups who support asylum seekers from other parts of the world.
COVID-19 Bulletin January 19, 2021
Happy Martin Luther King Day to all of you! The spirit of Reverend King’s campaigns to end racial segregation and bring racial equality across the United States plays out today in the binational world.
COVID-19 Bulletin December 18, 2020
In these final days of 2020, I want to express my deepest appreciation to many people who have been a part of our coalition, from those of you who attended our virtual meetings, to others who read us and sent us opinions, to some who talk to us seeking connections, alliances, or recommendations, and others who are very forward with proposals to improve our border.
The 2020 Border Innovation Challenge
The Border Innovation Challenge, now in its second year, is a business plan competition focused on the challenges presented by the international border. This competition spotlights promising solutions and technologies to meet the efficiency and security challenges of the regions ports of entry.
COVID-19 Bulletin November 30, 2020
President-Elect Joe Biden has picked Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If confirmed, Mayorkas will be the first Hispanic in that role. He is the son of Jewish Cuban refugees and directed U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services before becoming DHS deputy secretary.
COVID-19 Bulletin October 20, 2020
I just finished reading El Tercer País: San Diego & Tijuana. Two Countries. Two Cities. One Community. The Kindle version is available, and the hardback will be on sale next month.