Victor Clark-Alfaro, a lecturer at San Diego State and director of Tijuana’s Binational Center for Human Rights, began doing field work with human smugglers along the U.S-Mexico border in the late 1980s. In a Q-and-A, he discusses the business of smuggling people across the border, including the role of referrals and pricing and how it’s all changed in recent years.

Border Patrol agents we spoke to aren’t sure how a border wall will change the dynamics between law enforcement and people trying to evade them. But drug tunnels, patches to the border fence and rings of concertina wire serve as reminders that for every measure taken to fortify the border, there have always been countermeasure to get around them.

San Ysidro’s demographics and its location on the border contribute to a unique set of housing woes. “I can’t get my green card without an address, I can’t work without a green card and I can’t afford an apartment without work,” said one resident whose struggle is familiar to many community members.