Twelve years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a small entryway to Mexico is getting the reopening locals had long wished for – and a small Mexican town that practically disappeared may enjoy a rebirth.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, the international crossing located in Big Bend National Park on the Rio Grande in Texas opened Wednesday with little fanfare.
The site was once a popular location for Americans to cross the border. Boquillas del Carmen, the small Mexican town on the other side (featured in a country song in the early 90s by Robert Earl Keen) was always a small community that depended on American business.
As many as 20,000 tourists a year would cross the Rio Grande River to drink or enjoy authentic Mexican food, according to the Express-News.
After the U.S. shut down the entrance, the Mexican town withered to less than 100 people. Once the tourism dollars dried up, many families fled and all but two restaurants stayed open.
Now Mexican residents are rejoicing about the potential return of lost business.
“I'm very, very happy. Thanks to God, they are coming across,” said Ofelia Falcon, a restaurateur in the small Mexican town, told the newspaper.
Before the entryway officially opened, some Americans would walk down to the water and take a leaky boat across the Rio Grande to Mexico.
According to the Express-News, recently the river was low enough that U.S. officials just rolled up their pant legs and crossed the shallow water to meet Mexican officials.
American tourists will find their legal entryway into the city a little different this time around. A $1 million kiosk has been built on the U.S. side and citizens will now have to present and scan their passports and I.D. to both countries in and out.
As for the local economy, only time will tell if the area can flourish like it did before 9/11.
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