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Border closely monitored by U.S., Mexico

events canceled

September 12, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

As the United States tries to come to grips with a terrorist attack Tuesday that likely has left thousands dead, local ports of entry remained on high alert.

The human tragedy that continues to unfold in New York has caused the cancellation of events in the Imperial Valley, including Mexican Independence Day celebrations in Brawley and Calexico and the United Way's annual luncheon fund-raising event.

Those trying to drive into Calexico through the downtown port this morning faced two-hour waits. Pedestrians faced about half-hour lines.

Motorists trying to cross into the United States at the Calexico East Port of Entry faced an hour wait, said Lauren Mack, spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

She said the ports would remain on high alert throughout the day and there was no information on when that status would change.


In addition, motorists trying to cross into Mexico will face lines as Mexican customs authorities check each vehicle crossing into that country.

Rita Vargas, Mexican consul in Calexico, said that is a gesture to work with the U.S. government. She said the goal is to check vehicles for anything suspicious so it can be reported to authorities on this side of the border immediately.

Vargas said President Vicente Fox has called for all Mexican Independence Day celebrations scheduled throughout the United States for Sunday be canceled.

The Calexico Chamber of Commerce has canceled its event, which was to be in Crummett Park. The Hidalgo Society in Brawley also has canceled its celebration.

United Way of Imperial County has canceled its annual kickoff luncheon, which was to be Thursday at Naval Air Facility El Centro.

Laurie Nilson, executive director of the local United Way, said the organization decided it would be inappropriate to stage such an event at this time. The luncheon will be rescheduled.

The United Way and the New York Community Trust have established what has been deemed the Sept. 11 Fund to help victims of the bombing.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund can do so in care of United Way Sept. 11 Fund, 2 Park Ave., New York, NY 10016. Donors may indicate whether they want their donation to go to New York, Washington, D.C., or other affected areas.

Locally, Imperial Valley Blood Services starts a blood drive from 1 to 7 tonight at Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley.

The blood drive will continue from 1 to 7 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon Friday at the hospital.

From 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 19 the bloodmobile will be at the county Administration Center in El Centro; from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 20 the blood bank will be at the county Sheriff's Office, and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 20 it will be at Border Patrol headquarters in El Centro. The drive will continue from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 21 at Government Agencies Federal Credit Union in El Centro.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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