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Border Facts

The boundary dividing the United States from Mexico is comprised of 1969 miles of mostly uninhabited land with intermittent trade metropolises and industrial zones.    This border, one of the longest in the world, touches both the Pacific and the Atlantic (via the Gulf of Mexico) Oceans and traverses arid desert and fertile river valleys. The border runs along the U.S. states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas on the northern side and their Mexican counterparts on the southern side of Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.  The U.S.-Mexico border region is one of the busiest trade centers in the world and a strategic economic asset for both Mexico and the United States.

   The U.S. – Mexico border is a direct result of the Mexican – American War of 1846-1848.  The war had begun over the United States annexation of Texas, which a newly independent Mexico had populated in an attempt to create a buffer zone against the gradually encroaching Northern neighbor.  At the conclusion of the two-year Mexican-American War, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceded what would become the Western United States, including California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.

   The United States – Mexico border is not only one of the longest in the world, but also one of the most heavily traversed by both people and goods.   With the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993 that abolished many trade-prohibitive tariffs, U.S.-Mexico-Canada export trade increased 111% by 2003. Approximately 4,886,850 freight trucks crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in 2008, part of a network that conducted trade valued at $366 billion. Today, the U.S. is Mexico’s largest trade partner in both exports and imports while Mexico is the United States’ second largest buyer and third largest supplier of goods.

   The scale of commerce is equaled by the mass concentrations and movements of people in the border regions on both sides.  The U.S.-Mexico border is home to the two largest international metropolises in the world:  San Diego-Tijuana and El Paso-Ciudad Juarez at 5 and 2.4 million people, respectively.  According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, approximately 105,406,300 people crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, either on foot or in a vehicle. Clearly, the legitimate personal and commercial travel far outstrips the illegitimate parallels which have made the U.S.-Mexico border famous.