Pictures of the border line by Kinsee Morlan
My life just got a whole lot better. This morning, at precisely 10:45 a.m., the US government issued me a Sentri pass! You San Diegans may recognize the term “Sentri” from your daily traffic report, “There’s an hour and a half wait at San Ysidro Port of Entry, and you’ve got about 15 minutes in the Sentri line.”
Oh yeah, baby. Now I’m part of the wait-for-15-minutes-instead-of-two-hours crew, and if feels good. Freedom feels damn good. So why did I wait so long? I’ve crossed with the non-Sentri holders for a year now, but I have my reasons. In fact, I have three reasons:
1. Until a few months ago the whole Sentri-application process was screwy. You had to call a number and leave a message to make an appointment. I called and left three messages. No one ever called me back. I eventually gave up. A few months ago, though, I caught wind that they had finally moved the process online. Now, you can get a pass in just a few days as long as you have all the necessary documents (passport, driver’s license, pay stub, proof of residency and so on and so forth).
2. This postmodern speed we’re all living in these days is sucking my life away. The year in Tijuana came and went in what felt like not even a blink, maybe just a little squint of the eye. I kept meaning to get around to it, but then I’d get an email, or a text message, or my cell would ring.
3. I thought the Sentri pass was a fast-pass to Facism more than it was a fast-pass to cross a border. I convinced myself that Sentri was only for the rich and well-documented (read: white) and that I, being the bleeding-hear Mexican-loving liberal I am, wanted nothing to do with it. The truth is, the pass is for the rich (you have to pay about $150, which is a lot in Mexico) and well-documented (getting passports, official pay stubs and driver’s licenses is no easy task when you’re poor, raising a couple kids or don’t have a job), but I just couldn’t wait in that horrid, polluted line anymore. I could feel my lungs filling with carbon monoxide from the thousands of idling exhaust pipes around me every morning. I will, however, miss the vendors, some who recognize me and one in particluar who knows exactly how I like my morning coffee.