McALLEN, RGV – Today, employees at the McAllen-Hidalgo and Anzalduas international bridges will hand out brochures to travelers from Mexico explaining the benefits of joining the the Trusted Traveler Program,

Members of the Trusted Traveler Program are issued a SENTRI card so they can speed through international bridges without a long wait.

Rigo Villarreal, superintendent of bridges for McAllen-Hidalgo and Anzalduas, said the brochures are being handed out because of the long wait times currently being experienced by travelers from Mexico. Sometimes, drivers can wait more than an hour to cross. Villarreal said it was important for the international bridge department in McAllen to take a pro-active approach because it wanted to see travel expedited.

“In an effort to increase the efficiency of the bridges, the International Bridge Department is partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to raise awareness of its Trusted Traveler Program,” Villarreal said. “This program is extremely beneficial for our travelers.”

Villarreal said SENTRI cards provide expedited U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing for pre-approved, low-risk travelers.

Applicants must voluntarily undergo a thorough biographical background check against criminal, law enforcement, customs, immigration, and terrorist indices; a 10-fingerprint law enforcement check; and a personal interview with a CBP Officer.

Editor’s Note: Rigo Villarreal, superintendent of bridges for the City of McAllen, is pictured above being interviewed by reporters at the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge in May, 2012. (Photo: RGG/Steve Taylor)