Crossing Borders

One City College student’s daily routine getting to and from school in one of America’s busiest border towns


A long line of people snaking around dividers to get through Customs is an everyday occurrence for some individuals. Photo credit: Joe Kendall

Laura Sanchez

The Tijuana-San Diego border is a nonstop pumping vessel. It never sleeps.

Thousands of people flood the border every morning as part of their daily routine. When most San Diegans are tossing and turning to get out of bed, most of our Tijuana neighbors have already tackled the dreadfulness of the borderline wait.

The San Ysidro-Puerta Mexico Port of Entry is the world’s busiest international land border crossing, one of the three points of entry. About 40,000 people crossed northbound by car and on foot during 2013, according to the San Diego Association of Governments.

Tijuana is home to many of our classmates and coworkers — individuals who go through a daily trek to sustain the border lifestyle — living there, working here. Dollars are worth more in Tijuana’s standard of living, and that’s enticing for many in this economy, why pay more for less? Tijuana offers many the opportunity to live in a larger place for a much cheaper price, however, it’s her spirit that keeps them there.

Those students and employees are willing to sacrifice a few hours of their day to make the trip from one border city to the other. It’s a love-hate relationship, but as many Tijuana residents would say, she’s worth it.

We accompanied one of those border students on his daily morning trek. His name is Rafael Villegas, a San Diego City College student. He wants to receive a certificate in computer science. We stood in line with him for about two hours, then followed him on his bus route to City. He shared with us his relationship with Tijuana. She is everyone’s mistress, but as Rafael explained to us, San Diego provides them all with security.