Border Report Blog: Team reflects on 10-day tour of US-Mexico border

Border Report Tour

The following live blog will be continuously updated throughout a 10-day BorderReport.com Tour. A team of journalists will travel more than 1,700 miles across four states telling impactful and unique stories along the US-Mexico border. The tour started Sunday, September 22 in San Diego and will end Tuesday, October 1 in Brownsville, Texas.

Tuesday 10:15 p.m. CT

The BorderReport.com Tour has come to a close. Earlier this evening, our team gathered to share thoughts and reflections on this journey along the US-Mexico border. You can watch below:

The Border Report team wraps up its 10-day tour along the U.S. Mexico border. Hear about their experiences and ask them questions live

WATCH LIVE: The Border Report team wraps up its 10-day tour along the U.S. Mexico border. Hear about their experiences and ask them questions live

Posted by BorderReport on Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Tuesday 6:35 p.m. CT

 The existing border wall in the city of Hidalgo isn’t on the exact U.S.-Mexico border, and since 2009, it’s crossed down the Hidalgo Pumphouse World Birding Center.

The wall was approved through the Secure Fence Act of 2006. According to a 2008 article from The New York Times, the Department of Homeland Security issued two waivers that wouldn’t require environmental reviews before the barriers were built. The waivers covered more than 400 miles of the border from California to Texas. A separate 22-mile stretch was also approved in Hidalgo County.

Click here to continue reading this story from Anna Wiernicki.

Tuesday 5:20 p.m. CT

Our team has made it to Cameron County in South Texas. After 10 days on the road, this will be our final stop.

Tuesday 4:35 p.m. CT

As John David Franz got within miles of his family’s 1,000-acre ranch in a vast and desolate part of South Texas recently, he saw two Border Patrol agents in a truck on the last county road leading to his property.

They told him they were tracking 10 migrants who had been spotted in the area — a popular spot for migrants to try to circumvent the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias. And they told him to call the station if he came across them.

Franz has experienced like that — and far worse. Click here to continue reading this story from Sandra Sanchez.

Tuesday 1:40 p.m. CT

For the past year, U.S. authorities and the government of Tamaulipas, Mexico, have been hunting criminals together, and the partnership has paid off.

Seven of 10 men wanted for criminal offenses ranging from murder to drug trafficking have been captured thanks to tips phoned in by residents on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and vetted by Department of Homeland Security employees.

Click here to continue reading this story from Julian Resendiz.

Tuesday 11:00 a.m. CT

The wall by the Hidalgo Pump House and World Birding Center is expected to go up by another 18-to-30 feet. That’s because U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Monday starting in 2020, approximately 65 miles of a new border wall could go up in South Texas starting in 2020.

Click here to read the latest updates from CBP about the border wall in South Texas and the counties that will eventually see construction.

Tuesday 10:15 a.m. CT

After going days without seeing a border wall, our crew arrived in Hidalgo, Texas where pedestrian fencing is quite frequent. The picture below is from the Hidalgo Pump House and World Birding Center.

(Photo by Sandra Sanchez)

Tuesday 5:55 a.m. CT

Unbeknownst to many in the United States, the Laredo Ports of Entry, a sprawling system in South Texas comprised of four vehicular international bridges, one international rail bridge and one airport surpassed the Los Angeles ports as having the most incoming value of goods into the United States in March.

That month, the Port of Laredo’s overall trade value was $20.09 billion. The Port of Los Angeles’ was $19.66 billion, according to Forbes.com.

Click here to continue reading this story from Sandra Sanchez.

Tuesday 5:40 a.m. CT

The final day of the BorderReport.com Tour takes us to Brownsville, Texas.

After seeing open borders with Mexico for the last few days of the trip, our team will start seeing pedestrian fencing again. According to maps from RevealNews.org and the Center for Investigative Reporting, this area of the state has quite a bit of border wall.

Monday 11:00 p.m. CT

On Tuesday, the Border Report team will wrap up its 10-day tour along the U.S.-Mexico border in Brownsville. Right now, it’s staying the night in McAllen. McAllen is the largest city in the Rio Grande Valley.

This comes as the U.S. Customs and Border Protections announces that around 65 miles of a new border wall could go up in this region starting next year.

Just this August, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling told Border Report that “it’s safer here than in a lot of cities in the United States.

As border issues continue as part of the conversation in the city, Border Report learned in August that McAllen was named the seventh-safest city in America, according to FBI statistics.

Mayor Darling says there were no murders in the city during 2018.

Here’s a previous story by correspondent Sandra Sanchez about the humanitarian respite center in McAllen.

Here’s also an in-depth look at the reports filed from Laredo before it began live shots from McAllen in the evening.

Click here to read the latest story about how steps are being taken to speed up trade at the border

And Border Report Correspondent Sandra Sanchez received a tour at the Port of Laredo. The Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge is the busiest passenger bridge in Laredo.

Monday 7:30 p.m. CT

During tonight’s live reports from the Rio Grande in McAllen, a Border Patrol helicopter hovered over the river for some 35 minutes.

In the clip above, BorderReport.com’s Anna Wiernicki explains what may be happening.

Monday 2:40 p.m. CT

The Border Report team just left Laredo.

Residents of Laredo Anna Wiernicki spoke with say it’s not uncommon to see people attempt to swim across the Rio Grande into the U.S. Some residents also see them rafting.

Laredo and its neighboring city in Mexico, Nuevo Laredo, are separated by just under 200 feet of water in some areas.

Click here for a photo gallery of images captured by photojournalist Ozzie Carrillo of people swimming in the Rio Grande by Los Dos Laredos Park.

Monday 12:10 p.m. CT

The Border Report team will make its way to McAllen this evening. Reporter Julian Resendiz was up this morning at the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge in Laredo.

This is one of four bridges in the international bridge system.

A report posted by the City of Laredo in 2018 says the Laredo Customs district’s set a record of $303.37 billion in trade with the world.

Monday 5:45 a.m. CT

The team is waking up in Laredo for day nine of the Border Report Tour. Laredo is one of the few towns in South-Central Texas with some pedestrian fencing along the border. But as you’ll see on this map from RevealNews.org and the Center for Investigative Reporting, there’s isn’t very much of it.

Sunday 11:00 p.m. CT

The Border Report team has wrapped up day eight of its 10-day tour along the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Here are the stories dispatched from the team today:

Click here to learn about why El Cenizo, a town that once gained national attention for its Spanish-only ordinances, is now embracing bilingualism

Click here to read about the Americans who cross over into Mexico for medications, eye care and more

Click here to read about how the Migrant Protection Protocols have impacted a respite center in Del Rio

Border Patrol agents who patrol the Rio Grande in Laredo say they see around 60 to 70 migrants who cross the border daily. Here’s a video clip of a CBP boat patrolling the river:

Sunday 2:30 p.m. CT

The Border Report team is currently in El Cenizo. It’s a town of fewer than 4,000 people. It’s right outside the city of Laredo and is a part of Webb County.

About 20 years ago, El Cenizo voted to declare Spanish as its official language. It also made the town a “safe haven” for illegal immigrants. Now, residents say there’s a growing emphasis on having everything bilingual.

“It’s better because for the jobs and everything you know, you have to talk in English,” Martin Gallegos, a resident of El Cenizo for 40 years, said.

The city was one of the plaintiffs that also challenged SB 4, which banned sanctuary cities in Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the law prioritized public safety.

“There are deadly consequences to not enforcing the law, and Texas has now become a state where those practices are not tolerated. With this bill we are doing away with those that seek to promote lawlessness in Texas,” Abbott said.

Then-mayor Raul Reyes told NBC News at the time he was concerned about the law’s impact on the town’s immigrant population and possible racial profiling.

Originally, the law was temporarily blocked from going into effect as both cities and counties took the state to federal court. In March 2018, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that unblocked most of the law.

Sunday 7:05 a.m. CT

One question we continue to receive on social media: what does the truck you’re driving look like? Needless to say, it’s a specially outfitted vehicle. It has seven cameras — including a couple on top of the vehicle.

We’re using the SUV for broadcast liveshots and nightly live streams. Here’s a closer look at the BorderReport.com Tour truck:

Sunday 6:30 a.m. CT

Through seven days of our BorderReport.com Tour, we’ve been able to document the border wall in California, Arizona, New Mexico and portions of West Texas.

While there are spots where an imposing 30-foot wall serves as a deterrent for illegal immigrant, there are other places that could be easily crossed if not for Border Patrol enforcing the area.

Click here to see 5 things we’ve learned about the border wall.

Saturday 8:15 p.m. CT

The BorderReport.com team is now in Eagle Pass. The team stopped by the Rio Grande, which is what separates this region from Mexico.

According to RevealNews.org, the Eagle Pass Municipal Golf Course in the city is in between the Rio Grande and sections of the border fence that was approved during former President George W. Bush’s administration.

Saturday 6:25 p.m. CT

The BorderReport.com team rolled through Del Rio, Texas shortly before nightfall and was able to speak with locals about security in the area.

While Del Rio has a pedestrian fence in part of the city, much of the area has open borders with Mexico.

RELATED LINKS: Del Rio residents on the Rio Grande say they feel safe, despite no border wall

You can see their full conversation as part of a Facebook Live broadcast below:

WATCH LIVE: The Border Report team is stopping in Del Rio, Texas as it makes the journey to Eagle Pass. Ask your questions about the border and get them answered.

Posted by BorderReport on Saturday, September 28, 2019

Saturday 4:45 p.m. CT

During our tour of the Brite Ranch Friday in West Texas, the owner provided us with images of what appear to be illegal immigration that were taken by his security system.

You’ll want to click here to see more of the images.

Saturday 12 p.m. CT

Reporter Anna Wiernicki and photographer Ozzie Carrillo are currently shooting a story at Big Bend Saddlery, located in Alpine.

The shop opened in 1905 and is located on the east side of town. It’s about 90 miles from the U.S. – Mexico border. The shop’s owner says it still feels the impact of what’s taking place at the border.

Saturday 8:15 a.m. CT

BorderReport.com’s Sandra Sanchez shared an emotional picture this morning of Border Patrol agents rendering IVs and aid to a migrant crossing remote desert in Big Bend National Park.

This photo was provided by the Border Patrol. Agents say it’s mainly Guatemalans crossing.

The woman in this photo is pregnant.

(Photo from Border Patrol)

Saturday 6:45 a.m. CT

The BorderReport.com team will spend much of our day in the car as we make the 5-hour drive to Eagle Pass. This is day 7 of the BorderReport.com tour.

According to mapping from RevealNews.org and the Center for Investigative Reporting, there will be only two small border barriers during today’s trip: one in Del Rio and the other in Eagle Pass.

The rest of the trip will have open borders with Mexico, according to the mapping.

Saturday 6:35 a.m. CT

Border Patrol agents who patrol a remote stretch of vast wilderness in West Texas say a surge of migrants — mostly families coming from Honduras — are taking a toll.

Roberto Dominguez, who is Patrol Agent in Charge of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Alpine Station, which includes the Big Bend Sector, said that children as young as 18 months old are being brought through this desolate stretch where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the Chisos Mountains on the border with Mexico.

Click here to continue reading this eye-opening original report from BorderReport.com’s Sandra Sanchez.

Roberto Dominguez, who is patrol Agent in Charge of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Alpine Station on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, shows a map of Big Bend National Park where migrants are being apprehended by agents in greater numbers. (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez).

Friday 10 p.m. CT

The Border Report team just wrapped up the sixth day of its 10-day tour. Tonight, the team will stay in Alpine.

Here are the remaining cities the tour will go through:

  • Eagle Pass
  • Laredo
  • McAllen
  • Brownsville

According to the City of Eagle Pass’ website, Eagle Pass serves as one of the very few international border crossing points for railroad traffic. Two international bridges help with vehicular traffic and one bridge is set aside specifically to help with commercial truck traffic.

The crew ended their day with a Facebook Live recapping what happened on Friday:

WATCH NOW: What a Texas family ranch that dates back to 1885 is doing to keep its land secure as U.S-Mexico border relationships changed over the years

WATCH NOW: What a Texas family ranch that dates back to 1885 is doing to keep its land secure as U.S-Mexico border relationships changed over the years

Posted by BorderReport on Friday, September 27, 2019

Friday 4:30 p.m. CT

Border Report correspondent Julian Resendiz is covering a story about the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s Air and Marine Operations (AMO) station in Alpine, Texas.

According to the CBP, the AMO plays a critical role in monitoring the Southwest region for smuggling of narcotics and illegal immigrants. It spans more than 2,000 miles of area that includes harsh terrain.

“AMO in the Southwest Region has been a long-standing deterrent to the alien, drug and terrorist smuggling threat,” the CBP says.

The unit makes between eight to 10 flights per week over Big Bend National Park and all the land north of a 100-mile stretch of the Rio Grande bordering the Mexican states of Coahuila and Chihuahua. The Big Bend Sector of the Border Patrol is 165,000 square miles. The land is rugged and hot, becoming unbearably humid after any summer rains.

Click here to read Border Report Correspondent Julian Resendiz’s story to learn more about how the AMO responds when its agents come across migrants.

Friday 3:05 p.m. CT

Brite Ranch trustee Jim White says before installing more security cameras and additional barriers around his ranch, he and law enforcement caught nearly $40 million worth of drugs the cartels tried to smuggle across his land. 

Click here to read what changes have been made at Brite and what’s being done to address illegal immigration.

Friday 2:45 p.m. CT

After coming off the water, BorderReport.com’s Sandra Sanchez caught up with Border Patrol agents at the Alpine station to discuss illegal immigration in Big Bend. You’ll be able to read more later when Sandra files her story.

Friday 2:15 p.m. CT

There’s a new interactive tool on BorderReport.com to allow you to follow our team’s journey from California to Brownsville, Texas. The map lets you see the stories our team has filed along the way. You can check it out here.

Friday 1:40 p.m. CT

BorderReport.com’s Sandra Sanchez spent Friday morning river rafting along the Rio Grande. In the photo above, the United States is on the right and Mexico is to the left.

In most cases, there’s no border barrier in place. The river serves as the point of separation between the two counties.

Friday 11:45 a.m. CT

Our team has arrived at Brite Ranch to take an aerial tour of the border near Marfa. This will give our team a unique view of the challenges along the international line in West Texas south of the El Paso region.

BorderReport.com’s Anna Wiernicki will take a deep dive into the history of the property. Check back in a couple hours for that report.

The Brite Ranch may be most known for a raid on the early 20th century. You can click here to learn all about it.

Friday 9:40 a.m. CT

As our team travels through West Texas outside of Valentine, there is no man-made barrier between Mexico and the United States. Only a few populated areas of the state have pedestrian fencing. One of those locations is El Paso.

You can click here to see photojournlist Henry Takai’s video above one of the border walls in El Paso.

Friday 9:15 a.m. CT

When we stopped in Arizona at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a 500-mile federal natural reserve in southwest Arizona, there was real concern for the long-term environmental impact caused by a border wall.

BorderReport.com’s Sandra Sanchez explains why environmentals feel the barrier could damage the area, which is named after the organ pipe cactus.

Friday 9:05 a.m. CT

The migrant shelters are now empty, but one southern New Mexico community is still dealing with the aftermath of this year’s surge of Central Americans.

The City of Deming and Luna County issued emergency declarations after asylum seekers overwhelmed the local Border Patrol station in May. The agency closed a highway checkpoint, leading to residents’ fears of drug and immigrant smuggling and the federal government began transferring migrants caught near El Paso, Texas to Deming.

Julian Resendiz explores why the city is now hoping to collect $300,000 from the federal government.

Friday 8:30 a.m. CT

Our team is heading to a ranch south of Valentine, Texas that is regularly impacted by immigration. We’ll work to provide you with updates throughout the day — as long as this cow leaves the roadway.

Cow blocks roadway south of Valentine, Texas. (Border Report/Steffi Lee)

Friday 6:15 a.m. CT

The BorderReport.com team will begin our day in the area of Marfa, Texas. As we found out Thursday after coming into the state, this portion of the state doesn’t have any fencing or barriers. Our crew will explore the area today and get a look at how the region is enforced without a wall on the international line.

In this interaction with Border Patrol during last night’s stream, agents discuss the fact there’s no fencing.

Thursday 9:00 p.m. CT

After leaving El Paso, our BorderReport.com team quickly learned much of Texas has no walls, fencing or vehicle barriers on the international line.

While outside of town, Anna Wiernicki reported along the border — and the BorderReport.com livestream on Thursday evening highlighted a spot without any barriers.

You can watch that Facebook Live below. Here’s a closer look at a map that shows the spots without border barriers beyond El Paso.

LIVE FROM THE US-MEXICO BORDER: The BorderReport.com team returns to Texas with a new story on why Pancho Villa is so important to one New Mexico town's tourism. Post your questions below!

LIVE FROM THE US-MEXICO BORDER: The BorderReport.com team returns to Texas with a new story on why Pancho Villa is so important to one New Mexico town's tourism. Post your questions below! The latest on the trip: https://bit.ly/2lChAiF

Posted by BorderReport on Thursday, September 26, 2019

Thursday 5:25 p.m. MT

Reporter Anna Wiernicki is going live for stations across Nexstar Media Group. Her first few live shots are in front of a privately funded border wall.

Ozzie Carrillo helps reporter Anna Wiernicki with her live shots Thursday afternoon. (Border Report Photo/Steffi Lee)

The project was completed at the beginning of June 2019. It’s built on private property belonging to the American Eagle Brick Company and was funded by the group “We Build the Wall.” It raised more than $20 million through a viral GoFundMe campaign.

The Border Report team is headed to Marfa for the night.

Thursday 3:05 p.m. MT

One of our first stops in El Paso was the memorial for the August mass shooting that law enforcement says targeted the Hispanic community.

22 people were killed and another 24 were hurt. The FBI is investigating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime.

Even with nearly two months passing, the memorial remains very active. The Walmart where the shooting took place is expected to reopen later this year.

Click here to read Steffi Lee’s story about why the Zaragosa Rotary Club’s volunteers are spending several hours each week preserving the memorial.

Thursday 2:00 p.m. MT

Our team has arrived in Texas. The Lonestar State shares from 1200 miles of border with Mexico – which is much more than any other state.  Our team won’t cover every inch of that but will drive some 1000 miles over the next 5 days to see various points along the border.

In the El Paso area, there’s quite a bit of pedestrian fencing or border wall, according to an analysis from RevealNews.org and the Center for Investigative Reporting.  Our team will work to get a good look at the barriers and bring you images and video. 

Thursday 1:20 p.m. MT

It’s been more than 100 years since Pancho Villa invaded the small town of Columbus, New Mexico. It’s one of the few times the United States has ever been invaded.

Reporter Anna Wiernicki learned that local businesses say the Battle of Columbus is actually what drives nearly all of the tourism here.

Phillip Skinner points to the patio outside of the Los Milagros Hotel in Columbus, New Mexico, which he owns. (Border Report Photo/Anna Wiernicki)

“Once a year we have an event here,” Phillip Skinner, who owns the Los Milagros Hotel in Columbus, said. “It’s a celebration of the relationship, of the good relationship that we have with Mexico. Riders start way down in Mexico, they ride for a couple of weeks, they come to Palomas, Palomas has a party for them and then those riders cross the border the next day. They get special permission to cross the border and they ride up here. There’s a switching of flags. The relationship’s very good.”

Irma Gonzales, who runs the restaurant Irma’s Kitchen, sees the effects of tourism too.

“The tourists, they do talk about Pancho Villa, she said. “They go to the museum too and learn about the history of him.”

Thursday 9:00 a.m. MT

Students from Mexico cross the border every day to attend school in the U.S. Border Report correspondent Sandra Sanchez met dozens of students Thursday morning in Columbus, New Mexico as they were traveling into town for classes. They either travel into the towns of Deming or Columbus for school.

The principal of Columbus Elementary School told Sanchez that more than 550 children at Columbus Elementary live in Palomas, Mexico and cross daily for school.

Click here to read Sandra’s story about why so kids from Palomas attending schools in New Mexico are citizens of the United States, while their parents may not be.

Thursday 5:30 a.m. MT

The BorderReport.com team is waking up in New Mexico after completing travel through California and Arizona. After coming across massive pedestrian fences in those states, they’ll likely only see minimal “wall” while navigating through New Mexico. According to RevealNews.org and the Center for Investigative Reporting, the state has two spots with pedestrian fencing. For the most part, vehicle barriers are in place. However, you’ll see on the map below there are wide stretches without any sort of fencing or vehicle barriers.

RELATED LINK: Photos of the various border barriers in Arizona

Thursday 5:20 a.m. MT

According to the Tucson Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, its agents have encountered and closed 113 illicit cross-border tunnels in the Nogales-area Border Patrol Station. A large portion of these tunnels have been found in downtown Nogales, within a one-mile radius of the DeConcini land crossing.  

Julian Resendiz spoke to people who have experience dealing with these tunnels and their aftermath. Follow the link for his insightful story.

Wednesday 7:30 p.m. PT

The BorderReport.com Team left Arizona on Wednesday night after traveling along multiple spots on the international line. We got a look at the various types of barriers in the state — from massive pedestrian fences to nothing but a couple lines of barbed wire.

Here’s an extended clip of the fencing outside of Nogales:

Wednesday 2:00 p.m. PT

A rancher told reporter Anna Wiernicki that there was a spot outside of Nogales, Arizona without a wall. Wiernicki found it with her team of photographers. Local ranchers, like Daniel Bell, told Border Report said the border wall likely ended due to terrain and lack of funding at the time. The wall has been there for more than a decade, Bell said.

This is where the border wall ends and the rest is enclosed by barbed wire. (Anna Wiernicki/Border Report)

Click here to read Anna Wiernicki’s story with two border ranchers about what it’s like for them to maintain the area where the U.S. – Mexico border meets parts of their land.

Wednesday 1:15 p.m. PT

Tucson Samaritans, a nonprofit humanitarian aid group that provides water and emergency supplies to migrants in the southern Arizona desert, brought Border Report correspondent Sandra Sanchez on a three-hour tour Wednesday. The group searched for migrant footprints and provided aid during the tour.

Wednesday 1:00 p.m. PT

Some members who are part of the Hia Ced O’odham (sand people) tribe say they’re “devastated” about a 30-foot-tall border wall that will soon to be built through what’s considered the tribe’s sacred and “spiritual lands” in southwestern Arizona.

Nellie Jo David, who is part of the Hia Ced O’odham tribe, shows her shell necklace. Hia Ced stands for “sand people.” (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

Click here to read Sandra Sanchez’s story about the worries Nellie Jo David, who is part of the Hia Ced O’odham tribe, has about how the border wall can impact tribal ancestral remains in Arizona.

Wednesday 10:00 a.m. PT

While downtown Nogales and the populated areas of town have large pedestrian fencing, areas outside of the city have vehicle barriers or no fencing at all, according to a rancher we spoke with.

This matches up with reporting from RevealNews.org and the Center for Investigative Reporting (our location in purple). Reporter Anna Wiernicki will be profiling this aspect of the border wall story as the day develops.

Wednesday 8:30 a.m. PT

Border states certainly understand the value of trade with Mexico, and Arizona is trying to take advantage of economic opportunities.

An Arizona airport is seto to become the first in the United States to pre-clear items shipped to anywhere in Mexico. Under the SkyBridge Arizona project, Mexican customs inspectors will be based at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and approve items for immediate delivery to any Mexican city, reports Julian Resendiz.

Click here to read his full story on this massive economic breakthrough for Arizona.

Wednesday 7:50 a.m. PT

Arizona is home to a variety of barriers on the international line. Vehicle barriers, like the two pictured below, are the most common. However, there’s plenty of fencing along the populated towns and ports of entry.

Click here for a gallery of border barriers throughout Arizona.

Wednesday 7:10 a.m. PT

On a rainy Wednesday morning, students are huddled under awning at Nogales High School as busses drop teens off ahead of the first bell.

While this school may look like any other, it’s estimated hundreds of students cross over from Mexico each morning to attend schools in Nogales. According to numerous reports, many parents use an address on the U.S. side to ensure their kids can register.

Wednesday 7:00 a.m. PT

While we may have been able to get feet from the wall in Nogales, Arizona, getting next to the fencing isn’t always easy. Reporter Sandra Sanchez found that out Saturday in San Diego. As you’ll see in the video below, a Border Patrol agent threatened her with arrest.

Wednesday 5:45 a.m. PT

Border Patrol agents tell us it’s not uncommon to find plastic black jugs in the fields within a few miles of the international. It turns out the darker jugs are used by migrants because they’re sturdy and won’t melt in the sun. The agent says most migrants will bring at least two with them and they’re often connected by rope.

As we came within a mile of the border fence near Lukeville Tuesday, we spotted one of the jugs in the middle of the road.

Wednesday 5:30 a.m. PT

While in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on Tuesday, Sandra Sanchez spoke with members of the Tohono O’odham Nation about the wall being built directly next to their land.

For them, the land and what it represents is sacred. The Tohono O’odham people say it’s possible the fencing will be constructed on important archaeological sites.

Tuesday 9:20 p.m. PT

About 50 of volunteers for the Tucson Samaritans gathered Tuesday night at the Southside Presbyterian Church. The group drops water and emergency supplies in the Sonoran desert in the hopes that migrants will find it. At the meeting, volunteer after volunteer told the group where they had been replacing water that past week, reported whether they had come across any migrants. They group even discussed what to do if they come upon bones or what they might believe are human remains.

Sandra Sanchez will be going out with the group on Wednesday morning and bring your their story later this week.

Tuesday 8:30 p.m. PT

Our BorderReport.com team made the trek from Lukeville to Nogales which included a stop through Tucson. Because of the rugged terrain, we had to travel 60 miles north to get around and navigate back to the southern border.

We arrived in Nogales around dusk and spent roughly an hour moving through town and getting within feet of the border wall. Reporter Julian Resendiz provided a unique perspective on the history of the wall and underground tunnels in the border town during this livestream:

HAPPENING NOW: The least secure fence the BorderReport.com team has seen to date, plus what they've seen of Arizona border wall construction

HAPPENING NOW: The least secure fence the BorderReport.com team has seen to date, plus what they've seen of Arizona border wall construction. Ask your questions of the team below:

Posted by BorderReport on Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Tuesday 5:45 p.m PT

For acres in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Park there’s nothing, but cacti. But as you drive closer to the Lukeville Port of Entry, the road signs turn into caution signs — warning visitors of “smuggling and illegal immigration.”

People who live in the area are used to the border wall. What concerns them: the impact on wildlife.

Anna Wiernicki explored how the wall construction is impacting the area.

Tuesday 1:30 p.m. PT

While touring the edge of the pedestrian fence near Lukeville, Arizona, our BorderReport.com team found an exposed area of the border fencing.  While there would be a few barriers to navigate around, it doesn’t appear as if it would be too difficult to cross.

After standing along that area for about 10 minutes, Mexican law enforcement came over and sat in their vehicle.

Tuesday 12:15 p.m. PT

Border Patrol allowed our BorderReport.com team down a dirt road in Lukeville, Arizona to view the area where fencing was being expanded by construction crews. The agent on duty told us much of the wall was already in place and crews have been working on an additional few miles for the last month or so.

In the video, you’ll see an old vehicle barrier behind the newer fencing.

Tuesday 11:10 a.m. PT

Border wall construction may be underway in Organ Pipe Catcus National Monument Park, but we won’t be able to get an up-close look. The roadway is closed off due to the work. We are able to catch some unique views of this new pedestrian wall from our Border Report Tour truck and its roof-mounted cams. We’ll share that with you as this journey continues.

Tuesday 10:20 a.m. PT

After a two hour drive, we arrived at the port of entry in Lukeville, Arizona. For the first time, we were able to get within feet of the pedestrian wall. To this point, this appears to be the least secure wall or fence we’ve come across.

On the other side of the wall was armed Mexican security or law enforcement. He was sitting when we arrived on the US side. After spotting us, he blew a whistle and began to walk around the area.

Tuesday 7:00 a.m. PT

The BorderReport.com team is now traveling through Arizona. As you’ll see on the map below from RevealNews.org and the Center for Investigative Reporting, about one-third of the state has pedestrian fencing.

The majority of Arizona has vehicle barriers. This type of fencing is designed to keep cars from driving through the international line. As you can imagine, it’s not nearly as secure as fencing or a wall.

Other portions of the state have no fencing. It most cases, these are spots with very rough terrain.

Tuesday 5:55 a.m. PT

During Monday evening’s drive from California into Arizona, the BorderReport.com team as able to document the various types of fencing along the US-Mexico border. Anna Wiernicki and team drove as close to the border as possible visiting ports of entry using roadways that hugged the international line.

Tuesday 5:00 a.m. PT

Issues that are as politically divisive as immigration, the building of a border wall and enforcement of the border often draw negative impressions from the public about what these agents do in the field. During an exclusive interview with BorderReport.com, U.S. Border Patrol agents Justin Castregon said even the term wall vs. fence draws criticism.

“Whatever the kind of nomenclature is used, it’s important to remember that it is going to help us do our job much better and much safer. It’s not the one and only element that will help us to complete our mission but its a very big part of that,” Castregon said.

Click here to continue reading this revealing and eye-opening piece from Sandra Sanchez.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Justin Castregon on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, shows Border Report the Otay Mesa area of southern California where 14 miles of a secondary border wall are being built. (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez).

Monday 7:45 p.m. PT

The Border Report team traveled through California Monday afternoon arriving in Arizona shortly after dark. During the trip, they were able to document different styles of barriers in place to separate the United States and Mexico.

LIVE: The BorderReport.com Tour team is driving from California to Arizona right now and answering your questions about the trip

LIVE: The BorderReport.com Tour team is driving from California to Arizona right now and answering your questions about the trip

Posted by BorderReport on Monday, September 23, 2019

Monday 5:00 p.m. PT

More than 100,000 people cross the San Diego-Tijuana border every day to go to school, work, to see a doctor or to go shopping. The San Ysidro Port of Entry is one of the busiest land-border crossings in the world.

The cross-border commute is common. Jason Wells with the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce says a lot of U.S. residents choose to live in Mexico.

BorderReport.com’s Anna Wiernicki profiles the cross border commuting lifestyle.

Monday 4:15 p.m. PT

The immigration debate in the United States sometimes annoys middle-class Baja residents, but it doesn’t stop them from crossing the border to shop in San Diego.

Shopping centers like Las Americas Premium Outlets were packed with Spanish-speaking customers this weekend, some literally leaving with a suitcase full of clothes from stores like Old Navy, Levi’s and Nautica. BorderReport.com’s Julian Resendiz shows the impact they have on San Diego’s economy.

Monday 3:15 p.m. PT

As we continue our trip through California, we’re seeing an increased number of Border Patrol agents. That included a group of six agents and a dog looking through brush outside Campo. They wouldn’t tell us what they were doing.

Despite rough and mountainous terrain, one agent in a different location down the road says he regular sees people crossing. Where he was positioned there was no fence or barrier in place.

Monday 1:45 p.m. PT

We stopped in Tecate, California right along the border. A pedestrian fence is in place that appears to have 30 foot beams. However, there are spots without beams that look like they’d be easy to comprise. Even so, Border Patrol agents are on standby to quickly respond to the area.

Monday 1:15 p.m. PT

As we leave San Diego, we’re driving roughly 4 hours.  Along the way, we’ll travel 170 miles along the California-Mexico border.  According to an analysis from RevealNews.org, the majority of the barrier along the border in California is pedestrian fence.  However, there are many spots with no border fence or simply a vehicle fence. We’ll do our best to stop and document the different types of border barriers along the way.

Monday 11:10 a.m. PT

Our BorderReport.com Tour crew spoke with dozens of people who come from Mexico each day to work in the United States. In many cases, these workers are Americans who live across the border to save money.

Click the video above to hear from reporter Anna Wiernicki and photojournalist Ozzie Carrillo.

Monday 10:45 a.m. PT

A privately funded airport terminal called Cross Border Xpress is a unique port of entry that allows only airline passengers using the Tijuana International Airport to cross from the United States to Mexico, and it generates enough revenue to pay the salaries of all the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who work there.

Reporter Sandra Sanchez takes us inside this port of entry by air.

The Cross Border Xpress terminal can be seen behind the border wall. The terminal connects airline passengers to Tijuana International Airport via an exclusive port of entry in San Diego. (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez)

Monday 9:50 a.m. PT

BorderReport.com’s Sandra Sanchez is getting an up-close look at the border wall and the various types of fencing being used. She’ll be traveling with the Border Patrol for the next few hours.

Monday 9:30 a.m. PT

On a Monday morning, you’ll find roughly 100,000 people coming through the San Ysidro port of entry into the U.S. from Mexico for work. In some cases, people travel hours to get to work. Lorena Soto is one of them.

Soto tells BorderReport.com she commutes about an hour from Mexico and then travels an additional few hours by bus to Beverly Hills. She’ll work there for the week and then return to Mexico on Friday.

Monday 9:05 a.m. PT

The mayor of Imperial Beach, California is in Washington, D.C. this morning preparing to meet with officials to discuss sewage and toxic chemicals flowing into the United States – specifically his beach on the border. 

Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina told Border Report that he has meetings at the White House scheduled on Tuesday with top officials who he hopes will help this situation.

Sandra Sanchez explains the issue, the response from Mexico and why the mayor is demanding the issue be addressed right now.

A sign at Imperial Beach forbids swimming on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, because of sewage contamination, which officials say come from Tijuana, Mexico. The beaches here are closed about 300 days per year because of pollution. (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez).

Monday 8:30 a.m. PT

Our Border Report crew is in multiple places this morning tracking a variety of stories focused on employment opportunities in the U.S. Julian Resendiz is looking at day laborers and the controversy associated with practices in San Diego. Anna Wiernicki is speaking with people who commute to the U.S. each day from Mexico.

Sandra Sanchez will be spending the day with the Border Patrol in San Diego. To get updates from her throughout her travels, be sure you’re following her on Twitter.

Sandra Sanchez heads into the U.S. Homeland Security Office in San Diego.

Monday 6:30 a.m. PT

The BorderReport.com Tour truck is equipped with seven cameras to allow for an engaging and interactive experience as we travel the border.  If you’re watching coverage on a Nexstar station, evening reports in newscasts will likely originate from the vehicle. 

We’ll also produce nightly streams as the crew travels from point to point.  If you’d like to ask questions, you can do so on our Facebook Live feeds or use the hashtag #BorderReport on Twitter.

Monday 5:40 a.m. PT

When she was a senior in high school, Dulce Garcia knew what to do with her life: go to college and get a degree, go to law school and make a million dollars by the time she turned 30.  However, life doesn’t always work out as planned.

As she matured, Garcia found herself drawn to the group Border Angels.  As part of this organization, she’s focusing her empowerment on providing legal, educational and community services to unauthorized immigrants already living here and delivering humanitarian aid to migrants coming across the border.

As our Julian Resendiz found out, the latter enterprise is bringing her as face to face with America’s deep-seeded divisions on illegal immigration.

Monday 5:00 a.m. PT

The BorderReport.com Tour crew is up earlier than usual to document workers who commute across the border each morning.

Local business leaders told BorderReport.com’s Anna Wiernicki tens of thousands of people cross each day. In many cases, they’re doing so for economic opportunities.

Sunday 6:50 p.m. PT

Where the border wall begins in San Diego, you’ll find two very different places. The American side centers around enforcement and border agents. On the Mexican side, you’ll find commerce like a Walmart, Starbucks and Dairy Queen.

Despite the different landscapes between that portion of San Diego and Tijuana, there’s a park at the border that brings people together. This is especially true on Sundays when they hold a cross border church celebration.

Anna Wiernicki filed this unique look at the service — and how plans were disrupted Sunday due to an incident.

As noted at the bottom of Sunday’s blog, you’ll see two walls in Friendship Park. It’s not uncommon to see Mexicans peering through the steel beams. On the U.S. side, people aren’t allowed to walk directly up to the fence.

Sunday 3:05 p.m. PT

Friendship Park closed its gates at 2 p.m. They’ll open again next Saturday for people to have the opportunity to greet friends and loved ones in Mexico.

At this point, only a few people remain in the U.S. side of the park. However, parkgoers in San Diego can smell what’s cooking on the other side of the wall. Loud music and the smell of freshly cooked food fill the area.

Sunday 1:45 p.m. PT

Because of what was described by Border Patrol agents as an “incident,” Pastor Fanestil had to conduct Sunday service through two walls. He spoke on the American side of the border through a speaker on the Mexican side.

Some people in San Diego who came hoping to take part in the service expressed frustration while looking on from afar.

Sunday 1:15 p.m. PT

A few minutes from now, Pastor John Fanestil will co-host a cross-border church service. He’ll stand on one side of the border wall presenting the service while a Mexican pastor does the same on his side of the wall.

In most cases, only 10 people are allowed into the service on the U.S. side. Others will outside of a gate and look on. Dozens are expected to participate in Mexico.

In this clip, Pastor Fenestil describes the history of serving communion at the wall.

Sunday 12:30 p.m. PT

One very unique thing about the border wall in San Diego: it comes right out of the ocean. Photojournalist Ozzie Carrillo captured these standout images of the 18-foot high structure.

Sunday 10:30 a.m. PT

Our first stop was at Friendship Park which is located inside Border Field State Park in San Diego. During select times on the weekends, people can walk directly up to the wall to potentially interact with loved ones and family members.

Sunday 8:30 a.m. PT

Our journey along the US-Mexico border begins in San Diego where President Trump visited Thursday to tout new border wall construction that replaced an easily comprised portion of fencing built in the 1990s.

The 14 miles of wall was originally proposed by the Obama administration and funded by the Trump administration in 2017. This fencing is 18 feet tall and been labeled a “world class security system” by the president.

During Thursday’s stop in San Diego, Trump highlighted features of the wall, which he said have been studied by three other countries. He said the wall absorbs heat — “You can fry an egg on that wall.” The concrete goes deep into the ground to prevent tunneling. And agents can see through it to spot possible threats on the Mexican side of the border, he said.

“When the wall is built, it will be virtually impossible to come over illegally, and then we’re able to take border control and put them at points of entry,” Trump said.

Construction actively continues on a secondary fence in San Diego. This portion features 30-foot beams. It’s roughly 20 feet north of the primary wall. Construction is expected to be complete in January 2020.

Mapping from Reveal News and the Center for Investigating Reporting shows the intricate layers of fencing along the border in San Diego. The barriers in and around San Diego are pedestrian fences.

RELATED LINK: The barriers that make up the border wall

(The Associated Press contributed to this update)

Visit the BorderReport.com homepage for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the United States-Mexico border.

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