The World’s Busiest Border Crossing: San Diego to Tijuana

December 20, 2012

Mirelle Borra’s video, a Creative Time Reports open call submission, depicts the architecture of the world's busiest border crossing, the San Ysidro Port of Entry connecting Mexico and the United States through the San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area.

The short video San Diego to Tijuana depicts the pedestrian passageway through the busiest border crossing in the world, San Ysidro. About 50,000 pedestrians (and still more vehicles) cross through the San Ysidro Port of Entry every day. Most come to the United States to work or to shop, and those visiting Mexico cross the border to either visit or return home to family.

From yesterday’s deportation of the alleged daughter of a billionaire Mexican drug lord to recent charges of corruption and the use of excessive force brought against U.S. border patrol agents, San Ysidro often serves as the backdrop for a ceaseless crime drama.

It is no secret either that an abundance of drugs flow, in both directions, through San Ysidro. Members of Mexican drug cartels have recently been caught smuggling vast amounts of methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin and other illegal drugs to the U.S., while Americans have been arrested for selling potent prescription drugs like hydrocodone to pharmacies in Tijuana, which then lure addicts from San Diego to their stores.

For most pedestrians, border crossings constitute a more banal, cumbersome reality marked by long lines and two-hour waits. Artist Mirelle Borra sees the border as a concrete symbol of global inequality: With few barriers, pedestrians cross from north to south casually, yet when heading in the opposite direction, they face elaborate security checks.

Borra argues, “While capital, corporations and goods move freely between nations, people are increasingly contained within government-constructed separation barriers and militarized borders.” Her video is an understated study of the San Ysidro border that focuses on its architecture and keeps this global political situation hovering just outside the frame.