MEXICALI — Businesses here that count on U.S. dollars have seen a steep drop in profits since the border crackdown following the Sept. 11 attacks on this nation.
After the attacks, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service beefed up security efforts by requiring border crossers to pass through metal detectors and show picture identification cards. The added measures have made waits to cross into the U.S. longer. Mexican officials have also stepped up inspection efforts on that side of the border in recent weeks, significantly slowing the entry into that country.
While recent steps have been taken by the INS to speed up the lines, there is still a perception throughout the Valley that a trip into Mexico and back will take longer than before.
According to Mexicali business executives and those visiting here Friday, that perception is affecting tourism.
A supervisor at the Caliente Sportsbook, right across the border from Calexico, put a price tag on the loss in business since Sept. 11. at "$60,000 in bets."