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Every day, tens of thousands of U.S. residents cross the border for work

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. — More than 100,000 people cross the San Diego-Tijuana border every day to go to school, work, to see a doctor or to go shopping. The San Ysidro Port of Entry is one of the busiest land-border crossings in the world.

Brenda Cortez lives the transborder lifestyle. She lives in Tijuana and crosses the San Ysidro pedestrian bridge every morning to get to her job as a pharmacist in San Diego.

“I do it every single day for the last year,” Brenda Cortez said. “For me, it takes about 30 to 40 minutes and that is from the point that I go out of my house, cross the border and get to my job.”

The cross-border commute is common. Jason Wells with the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce says a lot of U.S. residents choose to live in Mexico.

“Because San Diego is so expensive to live in,” Wells said. “Tijuana really has become a bedroom community for the workforce in San Diego.”

Wells said there are no cargo crossings in San Ysidro. Everyone who crosses the border is either a tourist or commuter.

“Every day through San Ysidro about 110,000 to 120,000 people are crossing northbound. About the same amount as crossing southbound,” Wells said. “So your average American city moves every day here in San Ysidro.”

The easiest commute is on foot. Cortez said the line to cross the border in a vehicle can take hours.

“As soon as you walk, either way, you see lines of thousands of cars waiting to cross over and you know they start making lines at two in the morning,” Cortez said. “There are some people that make 5 hours a day just to cross over.”

Wells said for many people the commute is worth it because for them its like crossing the street.

“That’s what going to Mexico is like for us,” Wells said. “We are a bi-national region. We get the best food south, best clothing north—we get to enjoy the best of both worlds.”

Anna Wiernicki is reporting from the Border Report Border Tour, which left from San Diego and is traveling to Brownsville, Texas. You can follow it here.

Visit the BorderReport.com homepage for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the United States-Mexico border.

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