SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — San Ysidro Boulevard just north of the port of entry is home to dozens of businesses that sell anything from shoes to blankets to perfume. And according to the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, all continue to be impacted by long border waits.
“It’s not just about commerce, it’s about our way of life,” said Jason Wells, executive director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce. “It’s kids going to school, families seeing each other, people getting medical attention, employees and employers.”
Wells stated the long waits continue to be a detriment to the quality of life in San Ysidro.
“Every facet of our lives in this binational region is affected by that border crossing.”
Wells said he was involved with the planning of the remodel project for the crossing more than 10 years ago and is still waiting for results.
According to him, Customs and Border Protection promised to make fast crossing times a priority.
“Unfortunately we haven’t seen a full rollout of what we built there. Double stacking booths has never happened even though every booth is equipped to be double stacked,” said Wells.
According to CBP, the lack of personnel is the issue — something Wells doesn’t buy.
“I’ve been involved for the last 17 years in the planning of this port of entry. I can guarantee you the government didn’t plan a port of entry without planning for personnel that CBP asked for,” said Wells. “Do they have enough? Maybe, maybe not, but that’s not an issue that we as a community should be helpless with. It’s a management issue.”
Wells and merchants Border Report spoke to said the long border waits are one issue, but opening Ped West, the second pedestrian border crossing at the port of entry, should also be a priority.
The facility has been closed since the start of the pandemic more than two and a half years ago.
“I’m going to Mexico City in two weeks and one of the issues we’re taking is the federal government of Mexico putting pressure on the U.S. to Ped West,” said Wells. “They’ve also made an investment in ‘Chaparral’ on the Mexican side. It’s their people who are trying to go to work and having to wait two hours, having to work an eight-hour shift and then having to come home.”
According to Wells, putting pressure on CBP has not led to the Ped West opening or reducing the lines at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
He would like to see the city of San Diego and area’s congressional delegation do more to help the business owners of San Ysidro.