San Ysidro is a community in the city of San Diego, California. It is located in the southernmost part of San Diego County, California, immediately north of the international border with Mexico. It was annexed by the city of San Diego in 1957.. Although the independent municipalities of National City, Chula Vista, Coronado, and Imperial Beach lie in between San Ysidro and the rest of San Diego, the two areas are connected by a narrow 400ft wide city boundary line that runs over the San Diego Bay. Thus, it is possible to travel across water from central San Diego to San Ysidro without leaving city limits.
San Ysidro is named for San Ysidro Labrador (Saint Isidore), patron saint of farmers. Furthermore, San Ysidro is the site of one the nation's first communes started by William Ellsworth Smythe, in 1908 known as "Little Landers".
San Ysidro is home to the world's busiest land border crossing, where U.S. Interstate 5 crosses into Mexico at Tijuana. In the 2005 U.S. fiscal year, more than 17 million vehicles and 50 million people entered the United States at the San Ysidro port of entry. The great majority of these are workers (both of Mexican and U.S. nationality) commuting from Tijuana to jobs in the greater San Diego area and throughout southern California. There is also a thriving reverse traffic, both of workers traveling to maquiladoras in Mexico and those purchasing services (vehicle repairs, hair and beauty services, childcare, medical or dental) or seeking entertainment in Tijuana. Crossing times are often slow at San Ysidro, particularly for those entering the United States in cars. For this reason many cross on foot, the line for which is frequently much faster than the vehicle line. Some foot travelers own a car in each country, and keep them in one of the large parking lots located near the border post, or use the respective public transportation systems of both cities (both systems have a bus station built solely to serve the border crossing point, and the San Diego Trolley runs from downtown San Diego to the border crossing).
A proposed expansion of the San Ysidro Port of Entry has been approved and is set to begin in the Northern Fall of 2008. It will take place in three parts and will be completed in the Northern Spring of 2014. The 577 million dollar project will expand and veer Interstate 5 to the west. Slated to be built are a new northbound inspection facility, including primary vehicle inspection booths, secondary inspection area, administration space, and a pedestrian processing facility. A new southbound inspection facility will also be built.
San Ysidro is also believed to be among the busiest sites for the importation of illegal drugs into the United States. Much of this is smuggled in cars or trucks, but some is transported through one of the custom-built tunnels constructed by narcotraffickers under the border. Central to the Tijuana drug trade is the Tijuana Cartel, also known as the Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO).
On the night of December 30, 2005, Guillermo Martinez Rodriguez, 20, was shot by agent Fausto Campos of the U.S. Border Patrol after the man entered the United States by climbing the fence between San Ysidro and Tijuana. The agent said he shot in self-defense because he was threatened by a rock that was thrown at him. In contrast, the victim's brother said the agent shot the victim in the back as the two Mexicans climbed over the fence to return to their country. Guillermo died in a Tijuana hospital the next day. On January 5, 2006, Raul Martinez, a Border Patrol spokesman in San Diego, said the victim had been detained many times as a people smuggler. The victim's mother denied these claims, stating that her son crossed the border only to find work so that he could feed his children. In Mexico, the Attorney General's Office concluded that Martinez Rodriguez had been shot in the back, with the bullet exiting through the chest.
On May 18, 2006, the border crossing was closed for nine hours after federal authorities shot and killed the driver of a car bound for Mexico, just 50 feet north of the Port of Entry. The vehicle was reportedly seen picking up illegal immigrants - but when pressed, San Diego police Lt. Kevin Rooney said he was not sure if the passengers were illegal immigrants.
There have been several border incursions by Mexican officials into southern San Diego. Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said there are an average of about 20 incidents a year in which Mexican police or military might set foot on U.S. soil, but that "a significant number of those are innocent things . . . because they're not aware of exactly where the line is."
San Ysidro High School serves San Ysidro.
San Ysidro Adult Education Center, operated by SUHSD, is also located in San Ysidro.
San Diego Public Library operates the San Ysidro Branch Library.
The Little Landers was a community founded in 1908 with the motto, "A little land and a living surely is better than desperate struggle and wealth possibly." Each member of the community held a plot of land no bigger than they could cultivate themselves, averaging 2 acres each, in order to foster a non-hierarchical social structure. Every person had an equal voice in the affairs of the community whose business affairs was conducted by a board of directors voted in by the community. All agricultural buying and selling was pooled on a cooperative basis. Members agreed to forfeit their land should they leave the community.
The community levied a commission on the sale of land which funded public improvements such as a library, park, irrigation systems, and a clubhouse. They maintained a retail market in San Diego where harvested produce was sold. In addition to growing vegetables, the community raised and marketed ducks, rabbits, and goats.