In 2010 6.4 million people, more than 17,000 people a day, crossed from Mexico into the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Add crossing vehicles and it's more than 80,000 people a day, making it the busiest border crossing in America, accounting for one in four people who enter the country at a U.S. border crossing, according to Customs and Border Protection statistics.
At a press conference held at the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce Thursday, the South County Economic Development Council revealed a survey conducted over the course of the last year of pedestrians crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.
The results concluded that slow border waits are draining economy on both sides of the border and undermining economic growth in the San Diego-Tijuana region.
A San Diego Association of Governments study released in 2005 found that inefficient border crossing drains billions of dollars from both sides of the border and more than 100,000 jobs.
More than 5,800 surveys were completed with people coming from Mexico into the United States between July 2010 and June 2011.
Roughly five percent of people surveyed had SENTRI passes or another form of Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler programs to speed up crossing time.
With SENTRI passes, the average wait time for people surveyed was 20 minutes. People surveyed without a SENTRI pass waited 52 minutes and two hours at peak times.
- 71 percent cross the border at least once a week, 27 percent cross daily
- 38 percent were American citizens and 44 percent were Mexican citizens
- 31 percent cross for shopping, 23 percent cross for business or work and 20 percent cross to visit friends or family. 10 percent cross to attend school.
A little more than 50 percent of pedestrians crossing the border came for business, work or shopping.
Another survey conducted by Crossborder Business Associates found that Mexican citizens spent between $70-100 million in San Diego during the holiday season in 2010.
“The amount of economic activity that we are leaving on the table due to excessive and unnecessary wait times at the border is inexcusable,” said U.S. Congressman Bob Filner, who joined business and political leaders from both sides of the border.
“Improving efficiency at our Port of Entry will make our border safer and help stimulate the economy on both sides of the border,” he said.