New rectangular columns of steel rebar sprout into space from a plot of land on the Mexican side of the border at San Ysidro. The columns, easily reaching the height of the multistoried office building it is planned to be, and covering an expanse of roughly a quarter of a football field, mark the parameters of a new addition to the border complex.
Customs inspectors and Mexican border agents are ensconced inside a small room that was once home to the last Caliente betting parlor a gambler could find while waiting in line to cross into the U.S. This former slot and sports-book joint is not working out as a pedestrian border-inspection station, so the new station is being built right behind it.
Some critics in the Mexican media have pointed out the deficiencies of the current pedestrian-inspection facilities for those entering Mexico.
At present, the concrete walkways into and out of the inspection station resemble a labyrinth of plummeting steps and descending runways for the wheelchair and suitcase-on-wheels crowd. Then the two pedestrian byways rejoin in a single column before the sole inspection lane. The pedestrian lane itself has shrunk from the old lane’s 40-foot-wide esplanade to a mere 4 feet across.