The US border wall separates Jacumba, Calfornia, USA from Jacume, Baja California, Mexico in the high desert.  Even after the first border barricade was built in 1995 to disrupt human and drug traffickers, residents from Jacume on the Mexico side could cross freely into Jacumba to buy groceries or work; and children would be brought across to go to school or go to a health clinic in Jacumba.  Since the 11 September 2011 terrorism attacks in New York, the US Border Patrol has closed off this border transforming a ten-minute walk into a two hour drive through the official border crossing in Tecate (only for those with proper US visas), segregating these communities from each other.  2016
 A double border wall, actually further inside the US prevents undocumented migrants from using the Tijuana River, on the other side of the second fence, as a corridor into the United States.  In the 1980's, entire families would rush across the border in what some referred to as "banzai runs", the reasoning that more would get through the gauntlet into the US if the Border Patrol were overwhelmed.   More than once I had been inside a car at this location in the 80's and watched a wave of frightened Mexican families, young and old, run past trying to evade US Border Patrol agents, even, at times, risking life and limb by crossing a busy freeway nearby (See the "Sin Fronteras/1987" section).  This wall put an end to the "banzai runs".  San Ysidro, California, USA.  2016
 When I first visited the US / Mexican border where it meets the Pacific in the 1980's, there was a single corrugated steel wall and chain-link fence that ended at the top of the beach.  It reminded me of the Berlin Wall.  (See the "Sin Fronteras - The Border Wall in 1987" section.)   Now the wall extends out to sea into the breaking waves.   Border Field State Beach, San Diego, California, USA.  In 1971, US First Lady Patricia Nixon dedicated the Friendship Park atop the cliff to the left.  There was a rickety wire fence, but no wall, where a small obelisk marked the border at a place where Mexican citizens and American citizens could still come together.  In 2006, it was still possible to approach the obelisk from both sides of the border, as the wall was built ride over the top of it.  (See the "El Muro de Verguenza" / "The Wall of Shame" 2006 - 2008 section.)  In 2009, the United States built a second wall, visible on the left, and it is no longer possible to approach the obelisk from the US side as it now sits in a no man's land.  2016
 Bandit Country: Looking south into Mexico from above the unfenced US / Mexico border in the Morron Valley, San Diego County, California, USA.  This lonely stretch of border is known for banditry.    2016
 A parked US Border Patrol SUV looks out across the US border wall at Tecate, Mexico, famous for Tecate and Carta Blanca beers, from California.  As is typical along the US / Mexico border, the city on the Mexico side pushes up against the border, while the US side is largely open country.  Tecate, California, USA.  2016  Although Tecate is a relatively safe border city, the mountains both east and west along the border can be treacherous for migrants with bandits laying in wait.  Often they rape female migrants or demand migrants' relatives phone numbers from whom they demand ransom while threatening the migrants' lives. 
 Yellow smoke from a brush fire south of the border is visible above the US border wall which crosses the Imperial/ Algodones Sand Dunes in the Sonora desert near the California/Arizona border.  The increased surveillance further east near Tijuana and the coast pushed migrants eastward where there were fewer US Border Patrol agents and difficult terrain.  Traffickers,  both human and drug traffickers, used to employ ATV's to mingle with American recreational ATV riders to the point that it was necessary to extend the wall through the sand dunes.  (See "Borderland California 1987 - 2007)  2016
 The US government filled in Smuggler's Gulch with a structure resembling an earthen dam 244 meters long (800 ft.) and 55 meters high (180 ft), built a second tougher triple-thickness border fence topped with razor wire, flood lights, remote sensors and cameras to deter nighttime crossings.  For decades, traffickers would smuggle everything from cattle to people, moonshine to cocaine through this canyon from Tijuana into the US making it one of the most treacherous places along the border.  In the 1990's, Smuggler's Gulch was a prime route for undocumented migrants attempting entering the United States.  Then in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security waived several environmental laws, with the blessing of the US Congress, to transport 1.5 million cubic meters (2 million cubic yards) of earth to fill in the gap.  Environmentalists, while recognizing the need for border control, describe this new structure as overkill and a threat to the environment.  The Smuggler's Gulch fence is part of a US$60 million project to install triple fencing over the final 5.6 km (3 1/2 mi) of the fence that runs from the Pacific Ocean separating San Diego, CA, USA from Tijuana, BC, Mexico.  2016
 For all the talk of sealing the US border, not all the gaps in the border wall in California are because of the rugged terrain.  The border wall ends and is replaced by a barrier on a desert plain in the Imperial Valley, at the edge of the irrigated oasis farmland west of Calexico.  Border Patrols were completely absent here, as opposed to all other places I visited along the border.  Border Patrol regularly approached to determine my nationality and why I was so close to the border line but here there was nothing but solitude.  Imperial Valley, California.  2016
 Wall that separates Calexico, CA, USA from Mexicali, BC, Mexico.  As their names imply, Mexicali on the Mexico side and Calexico on the US side are sister cities but the wall was not always this big.  In the 80's a rickety corrugated steel wall did not extend to the edge of the cities but in 2008, when I documented the migration issue from the Mexicali side, US crews were extending and reinforcing the border wall here.  Mexicali has a notorious reputation but there were prosperous suburbs south of the city complete with shopping malls and Starbucks.   There are an estimated 160 "maquiladores", or manufacturing operations, in Mexicali, making it a prosperous city of commerce.  That said, Mexican cartel violence has been known to spill over the border because of the lucrative smuggling business.  Since it has become so hard to go over or around the fence, cartels often resort to constructing covert tunnels that extend under the fence into Calexico and one such tunnel, 70 meter long (230 ft), which had lighting and ventilation, was discovered leading from a residence in Mexicali into Calexico in April 2015 when US Border Patrol intercepted four men in Calexico carrying 25 vacuum-sealed packages containing 31 kilograms (69 lbs) of methamphetamine worth US$694,000.  They were trying to cross the All-American Canal using scuba gear.  Three of the men escaped back to Mexico and the one who arrested was from Honduras.  2016
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