President Donald Trump continues to energize his base by promising to make the physical barrier that separates Mexico from the United States higher, stronger and more beautiful than ever before. The promise remains a crowd-pleaser for his supporters. The higher the wall, the more drugs we stop, the more “bad hombres” are kept out, the safer we are, the thinking goes.
Of course, drugs and people will likely still go over, through, and under the barrier – whatever it looks like – just as they have for as long as the physical barrier has existed.
In Otay Mesa, 15 miles south of San Diego, drug tunnels, patches on the border fence and rings of concertina wire serve as reminders that for every measure U.S. authorities take to stem the flow of drugs and people, there has always been a countermeasure to get around it.
Since November, not all that much has changed for the men and women who patrol the 61 miles of border in San Diego. In fact, so far the biggest change may be influx of reporters who flood the agency with requests for interviews.
Agents are typically happy to oblige and take reporters on ride-alongs, so long as they respect the first ground rule: “No questions about politics, OK? We don’t need everything we say getting politicized,” Border Patrol agent Tekae Michael, who grew up in nearby Chula Vista, told me recently.
She turns south near Otay Mesa’s of stretch warehouses and heads toward the jungle of wire and corrugated steel that line the U.S. border. Michael slows the SUV as a group of Border Patrol agents come into view, members of tunnel rat team, a five-person task force – dressed in military gear, desert camouflage and combat boots – charged with detecting and closing down working drug tunnels.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Crossings were much much worse before the wall that exists now was constructed. Seems like additional pressure is needed to get Mexico to do some enforcement. We send them a ton of money, perhaps we should force them to spend it on border enforcement.
Hoping Mario Koran will do a follow up on what it means to be deported. I assume they go into some kind of criminal registry in the US , but what happens on the Mexico side? Are they just set free to try again or is there a penalty?
@craig Nelson Good questions. I'll follow up on them.
Perhaps you just need a longer perspective. When I moved here in the 70's dozens of people would emerge out of the fields (which are now houses!) and climb into vans in the middle of the night. Google "Tijuana soccer field". Look up the gang task forces formed to protect border crossers from rape and robbery as they made their way through the Tijuana River Valley.
Tunnels and rope ladders are small potatoes.
Think of the money we could save by eliminating maintenance on prison walls in the United States... for that matter why not get rid of those ugly chain link fences surrounding military installations?