Don’t you just love the absolute boldness of the Mexican government in this move to charge people coming across their border in Tijuana? Unreal!

Walking into Mexico at the nation’s busiest border crossing with the United States is no longer an uninterrupted stroll for foreigners.

Starting late Wednesday, pedestrians going to Tijuana from San Diego at the San Ysidro crossing must choose between a line for Mexicans who get waved through, and a line for foreigners who must show a passport, fill out a form and – if staying more than a week – pay 322 pesos, or roughly $20, for a six-month permit.

About a dozen foreigners stood in line Wednesday night, directed by English-speaking agents to six inspection booths where they got passports stamped. It took about 10 minutes from start to finish.

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Travelers have long followed similar protocol at Mexican airports, but the new border procedure marks a big change at land crossings that weren’t designed to question everyone. Pedestrians and motorists have generally entered Mexico unencumbered along the 1,954-mile border with the United States.

“This is about putting our house in order,” said Rodulfo Figueroa, Mexico’s top immigration official in Baja California state, which includes Tijuana.


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