The Calexico West Land Port of Entry is currently undergoing a modernization and expansion project. We received Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for its final phase of construction, which will include the installation of a temporary pedestrian inspection facility. This will fund the demolition of the existing pedestrian building and construction of an expanded, permanent pedestrian inspection facility with increased processing capacity.
While Calexico West is not a commercial port, it still plays a critical role in our national supply chain as a gateway for essential farm workers. The Imperial Valley is a major supplier of winter produce. The availability of labor from Mexico provides the produce shipped all throughout the U.S.
Jobs and economic impact
The regional agricultural economy relies on Mexican laborers to pick the produce that is too delicate for non-human hands to handle. The valley’s fertile soil grows many of the winter fruits and vegetables for domestic and international markets, as well as various other agricultural goods such as cotton, alfalfa and grain. Those same workers also contribute greatly to the regional economy, frequently crossing to shop for groceries, clothes, and other retail goods in Calexico. In fact, retail sales taxes account for a quarter of the City of Calexico’s revenue, with much of that coming from Mexican shoppers.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Despite the region’s dynamic agricultural sector, unemployment in Calexico remains high, fluctuating between 20 and 30%. The ongoing modernization and expansion project, and work associated with Phase 2B, represent a significant federal infrastructure investment for Calexico, creating well-paying construction jobs, as well as demand for hospitality and service industries. Once complete, the port will continue to act as a regional economic engine, by reducing border wait times and facilitating lawful trade and travel between the Calexico and Mexicali communities.
Our design will increase energy and water efficiency (including renewable energy and fossil fuel-free measures), adhere to sustainable design principles, and minimize climate risk liabilities above the minimum performance criteria in a life cycle cost-effective manner.
The 1970s-era port lacks the necessary space for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to do pre-primary inspections. Conditions inside the undersized pedestrian inspection facility’s pre-primary queuing area are cramped for the thousands of people who cross the port. The new expanded pedestrian building will boast increased pedestrian inspection capacity and will have the required space to accommodate CBP’s inspection technology, creating a safe and efficient facility to serve the Imperial Valley Region for generations.
This project will improve the quality of life for anyone who lives nearby, works at, or uses the border crossing. A modern, functional, secure, and sustainable port benefits economic, cultural, and environmental conditions for both countries.