Friday, February 05, 2010

MEXICO RETALIATES: PASSPORTS NEEDED TO ENTER BY LAND, SEA OR AIR

by Leo E. Laurence

Copyright © 2010 by Leo E. Laurence for San Diego News Service

With the paranoid fears of the federal Department of Homeland Security requiring anyone entering the U.S. from Tijuana to show an American passport, Mexico is now also requiring a passport to enter the country by land, sea or air.

“Due to the regulations established by the U.S., and due to the reinforced security in North America, persons from America or Canada must now have a passport or a passport card to enter Mexico,” said Alberto Diaz, press attach√© of the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego, in an interview with San Diego News Service.

But don't expect long lines to suddenly appear for traffic going southbound into Mexico, similar to what you will experience on your return into the fearful United States.

“This will not have much (practical) impact,” explained Diaz. “I don't anticipate that will be the case.

“They will not be changing the (usual) procedures for entering Baja California from San Diego,” Diaz added.

But “there could be check-points (anywhere) as needed,” he cau-tioned, and “producing passports will be required” at that time.

As when massive, security regulations were added to American life after 9/11, “this will also provide (the Mexican) government with more information about Americans or Canadians who enter Mexico,” Diaz said.

Visiting longer than 7-days

Anyone entering Mexico from the United States or Canada will now be required, and produce on demand, a passport or passport card for a brief visit.

“Anyone who wants to stay longer than seven days in Mexico needs to obtain a permit and pay a fee of around $20. They are available at the Mexican Port of Entry or at different banks,” Diaz explained.

Except when Mexican law enforcement or military establish check-points in Tijuana or at other locations in Baja California, there will be no significant changes of procedures for southbound traffic as a result of the new Mexican laws on passports.

Contact reporter Leo E. Laurence at (619) 757-4909 or leopowerhere@msn.com