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Paying up at the border? Feds considering charging to cross

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Paying up at the border? Feds considering charging to cross

By Kevin Keen. CREATED May 9, 2013

NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - To charge or not to charge? The feds want to explore making everyone pay up when passing in to our country by land.

Here's the plan: the Department of Homeland Security wants to look in to a possible fee for pedestrians and cars coming in to the U.S.

We don't know how much money they'd charge. The proposal is to study the possibility and the options.

The idea is to raise more money to help pay for ports of entry like Nogales' in Southern Arizona.

Businessman Jamie Chamberlain said the idea comes with a price.

"Crossing fees will only impact us in a negative way," he told KGUN9 News. "And I don't need a study to tell us that."

Chamberlain is the head of J-C Distributing, a produce distribution company, and believes any fee would keep tourists away.

"I don't think we want to do anything to detract visitors from coming to our state and coming to our community," he said.

But Bruce Bracker and his clothing store -- Bracker's -- would go for the idea if the money went right back into Nogales' ports, which could add staff.

"If they're going to start charging a user fee and the wait times go down to less than five minutes, then all of a sudden more people are going to be crossing the border," said Bracker, adding that'd be good for business.

On the street, reactions from the people who use the Morley Avenue pedestrian entrance downtown are also mixed.

"I come here frequently and I don't want to pay to cross the border," one woman said.

"Yo no tengo problema," said one man, who has no problem paying up.

The possible project is part of the federal budget proposal. Congress would need to give the go-ahead.

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Web producer: Rikki Mitchell