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The new in 'n' out - immigration checkpoints in San Diego

May 7, 2008 |  9:27 am

Check_points_they_get_you_coming_an It's not just people crossing the border into the U.S. in San Diego who get the once-over from immigration officials -- those heading south get special scrutiny as well. Richard Marosi explains how border authorities are stepping up enforcement.

At random times near the Tijuana-San Diego border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have been setting up checkpoints, boarding buses destined for Mexico and pulling off people who don't have proper documentation.


The checkpoints, which are not announced in advance, are set up on southbound Interstate 5 about 100 yards north of the border. Vehicles in all lanes must stop.

Vincent Bond, an agency spokesman, said departing immigrants are fair targets.

"If our officers come upon people who are here illegally . . . regardless of whether they're leaving the country, we detain them, make a record of the fact they were here illegally and return them to Mexico," Bond said.

Feds say those with serious criminal records or a lot of immigration violations get detained. The majority are on their way back to Mexico within hours. More on the immigration issue -- including opposition from immigration rights groups -- in Richard's full story.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times