Border Pollution Affects CPB Agents

  • Customs and Border Protection is soliciting ideas for addressing some of the problems its agents face from contaminated water flowing across the international border.
  • The agency is seeking solutions from private industry and could award contracts to projects it likes.
  • The move was spurred by health complaints, including rashes and respiratory problems, from Border Patrol agents who work in the Tijuana River Valley where the polluted water flows.

With health complaints continuing from Border Patrol agents who work the polluted areas of the Tijuana River Valley, the federal Customs and Border Protection agency is quietly trying to solve some of the problems of toxic sewage flows from Mexico — on its own.

The agency posted a notice on a federal contracting website last week seeking ideas from private industry on how to get a handle on cross-border sewage and hazardous materials that flow through the area, and which Border Patrol agents are routinely exposed to.

The posting, formally known as a Request for Information, is the first step in what could become a full-blown contract award by the agency. The notice, titled “CBP Wastewater Initiative,” marks a move into an area — engineering and environmental solutions — that the massive law enforcement agency does not normally delve into.

It also marks a new opening in the escalating battle to address the decades-long problem of sewage flows through the valley. On Friday a group of local governments, including Imperial Beach and the San Diego Unified Port District, announced a lawsuit against the federal government for failing to stop the repeated discharges of polluted water into the valley.

That litigation could take years to resolve. Meanwhile CBP is taking steps to at least alleviate — not necessarily solve — the problems faced by its agents.

The move is likely a response to increasing alarm sounded by the union for Border Patrol agents about health problems that Border Patrol agents assigned to Imperial Beach have experienced. Chris Harris, a union representative, said that some 83 agents have reported headaches, rashes, infections and other problems from contacting the water and breathing in the dust in the valley.

Harris praised the agency for taking the lead. He said the union has met with Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan about the problem and worked to start finding solutions.

“We don’t have engineers and scientists coming out of the woodwork,” Harris said of CBP. “They are saying we can’t wait any more… The EPA has not been helpful, and neither has the state.

“Can you imagine if you had a city where sewage was running down the streets, and it was the Police Department that said we are going to solve it? Where’s the water department or the sewer department? That’s the situation we are in.”

CBP said in a statement the agency isn’t going out on its own and will still work with other entities to seek a solution.

“This effort is only addressing one part of this complicated issue. CBP continues to work closely with its inter-agency partners at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of State (DoS), the Department of Treasury, and the United States International Boundary and Water Commission to develop a whole-of-government approach to resolving this large-scale infrastructure issue, to include robust engagement with the Government of Mexico.”

The agency said the cost of its efforts cannot be projected until solutions surface through the Request for Information process.

While health concerns of agents were a factor, the statement also said that CBP was “spurred by the continued risks the trans-boundary wastewater and hazardous flows pose to its mission as a whole, which includes not only the health and life safety risks to its U.S. Border Patrol Agents, but also its mission support personnel and individuals it apprehends in performance of its mission.”

The notice said that agents have to routinely inspect a network of culverts that run under the border fencing and barriers that carry water to look for unauthorized immigrants and smugglers.

While the culverts should only be wet during and after a storm, they are often carrying water during dry periods — a result of the lack of sewage infrastructure in Tijuana and illegal dumping, authorities have said. Several of the canyons that cross the border empty into collectors that capture the dry-weather flows for eventual pumping to a sewage treatment plant on the U.S. side of the border.

“Known and unknown contaminants pose operational and health risks to Border Patrol agents operating in the area,” the notice reads.

The agency asks for a range of solutions, including automated equipment that would allow agents to no longer patrol the area on foot, as well as “engineering fixes to the canyon collector infrastructure to neutralize the risk of the hazardous material contained in the water or eliminate the water that pools in the collectors.”

The agency also wants ideas for a “suite of technology” that would allow agents to remotely monitor culvert grates and spillways, alerting “personnel of imminent risks so they can take precautionary measures to limit exposure.”

Ideas are due in mid-March. As a sign that the agency is seriously considering purchasing solutions there is an “industry day” already scheduled for San Diego in April. At those events government officials and contractors interested in a procurement discuss the goals of a project, possible scheduled and get feedback from industries about a proposal.


Baja 1949 Documentary Video

Scenic Road Bypass Discussion Continues

The construction of an alternate route to the Scenic Highway is necessary to avoid road deterioration due to the passage of heavy trucks, said César Ramos García, president of the Mexican Chamber of Construction Industry (CMIC) in Ensenada.

“The stage was never designed to withstand the passage of such vehicles, never, therefore deterioration and constant repairs suffered by the road,” he said.

Specialists in soil CMIC announced on the basis of technical studies that the scenic road suffers its worst deterioration by the passage of heavy trucks, both cargo and passengers, so it is urgent that they be diverted as soon as possible.

He gave as an example San Francisco, California, where on one of its stretches it passes along the coast, like Ensenada, but heavy traffic is forbidden there.

“Studies of soil have shown that the passage of each truck is equivalent to the same damage and wear that would generate 50 sedans; at that level is the wear of the Scenic, making it also dangerous to move in areas closed by these heavy units, “he said.

The president of CMIC emphasized to continue investing in the realization of the alternate route and to do it with professional technical studies to get the project out as soon as possible.

“It is time to see road investments as a growth opportunity before spending, since the alternate route will be developed, will also be promoting the creation of industrial parks, of which Ensenada lacks and of which the state is urgent”, express.

For this reason, he insisted that it is urgent to continue with the Alternate to Scenic section because it will be a pole of industrial development and will immediately stop the passage of heavy vehicles through the Scenic, as they generate terrible and constant damage to the asphalt belt.

Industrial area To
allocate one thousand 750 million pesos in the construction of the alternate route to the Scenic, it has to be seen as an investment for the creation of a pole of industrial development.

The businessman said that the 24.6-kilometer road would connect Bajamar with El Sauzal and could become the industrial area that suffers the city, because when a new industry seeks to settle in a city, it does not look for if its streets are paved or bumpy, Look for connectivity, industrial zones, water and electricity.

“The alternate highway offers that possibility, ample spaces to develop companies and adequate road services, only lack long-term vision,” he said.

Tijuana Threshold of the Americas

Above YouTube shows the 2016 construction of the Puente Vehicular Centro Histórico-Puerta México(PVCHPM) San Ysidro 2018 Directions bridge discussed in yesterday’s post.  Below is the concept plan that includes the vehicular bridge and the arched pedestrian bridge.

The project covers a 3/4 mile route from the PedWest pedestrian entrance at the San Ysidro Port of Entry to the giant arch at the north end of Revolución Avenue (Los Angeles Times) 

Dec 26, 2017

Closed storefronts, broken sidewalks and dark staircases have welcomed for years, the pedestrians who are heading from the border to downtown Tijuana. Now the promoters of the city want to drastically change that disturbing first impression.

A $ 13 million project called “Threshold of the Americas”, provides for a renovated entrance, with plazas, new lighting, well-designed ramps and a wide bridge over the Tijuana river channel to connect the border with Avenida Revolución, the tourist district traditional of the city.

“We want to develop a place where tourists want to stay, entertain themselves, instead of a place where they just want to walk fast,” said Aaron Victorio, executive director of the Economic Development Council of Tijuana.

Just in front of San Ysidro, the project encompasses a 3/4 mile route from the PedWest pedestrian entrance at the San Ysidro Port of Entry to the giant arch at the north end of Avenida Revolución. The road crosses an area in transition, at the same time that it grows with activity and new constructions and struggles with an ugly image of urban decay, with empty shops, a homeless population and a persistent stench that rises from the Tijuana River channel.

The goal is to make walking in Tijuana a safer and more pleasant experience, both for tourists and for visitors to the city. The changes are part of a larger effort to revitalize the historic city center near the US border, an area that is slowly transforming with new living spaces, cultural venues, breweries, restaurants and cafes.

The opening of PedWest in 2016 underscored the need for a better pedestrian connection from the border to downtown Tijuana. US Customs and Border Protection figures UU they show an average of 12,000 people crossing north daily through Pedwest, about 60 percent of total foot traffic to the north, and an estimated number cross to the south.

“It should be better,” said David Bernal, a 22-year-old Tijuana resident who crosses the border at PedWest to and from work at the Northgate market in San Diego. “After dark, I do not pass by,” he said as he headed home at dusk.

Funding for the project so far comes from a variety of government sources, including the state government of Baja California and the municipal government of Tijuana. With approximately a quarter of the funds already in hand, the first phase is scheduled to move forward early next year and will be completed in September. This will involve the reconstruction of a pedestrian corridor lined with small shops known as Callejon Articulo 123, and includes putting the electrical wiring underground and offering incentives to the merchants to rebuild their facades.

“Everything that can help the center of Tijuana will be useful for future development,” said Genaro Valladolid, a real estate agent from Tijuana who has defended the developments of commercial use and housing in the area. “At this moment, when you cross this area it’s an unpleasant experience.”

The centerpiece of the project is in the second phase and involves the reconstruction of the United Nations pedestrian bridge that spans the Tijuana River, expanding it and building “cultural plazas” at each end. The structure includes giant steel tubes that support the bridge that will form a giant X, an allusion to the “x” of Mexico. The final phase includes a connection path to PedWest.

“This project will allow us to show that yes, we can improve, we can change and we can renew all the way from the entrance of Tijuana to other areas” of the city, said Gabriel Camarena, president of CDT.

While at this time the funds to complete the project are uncertain, the CDT is confident that they will be obtained, said Victorio, the executive director.

And although an entry redesigned the city center can not solve all the problems of the area, the Threshold project is an important first step, proponents say the project. “It’s part of the solution, although not complete the solution,” said Arturo Echanove, an architect of Tijuana who helped select the current design.

Threshold of the Americas is one of the five projects adopted by CDT of a long-term metropolitan strategic plan that lists 214 priority projects for the region that covers Tijuana, Tecate and Playas de Rosarito.

The need for such a project was mentioned for the first time in the plan in 2012, said Victorio. In 2014, the council collaborated with a publication on Mexican architecture, Arquine, asking for conceptual designs to redevelop the area. Approximately 400 proposals from around the world were sent, including Uruguay, France and China, and the winning design was presented by a team from the USA. UU

“It was a great concept, but it was not really feasible,” said Victorio, adding that the estimated cost of $ 70 million was too high. “We said, let’s do something that is feasible to our reality”

Earlier this year, a new invitation to receive proposals was issued, this time from eight local companies and in August a winning team was selected by a jury that included CDT; agencies of the government of Baja California, the city of Tijuana, the federal government and the main architectural and engineering groups of the city.

“The idea is to renovate the area, make it habitable, passable and safe,” said Sergio Celis, an engineer from Tijuana. who leads the 12-member interdisciplinary team that was selected. “It’s the entrance to Mexico, it must be the right one”.

For Elba Palos, the changes will not come too soon. His curio shop on the edge of the Tijuana Handicraft Market has seen few clients in recent years. “They do not come anymore,” he said. “It’s a real fight and we want more people to come.”

San Ysidro SENTRI Directions 2018

by Baja Traffic Editor Quincy Quiebra                             

Others will rename this article, “This is why I cross at Otay!”.  OK, here is one of the handy ways to access the San Ysidro border crossing SENTRI lanes. There are other ways to get to SENTRI and the more comfy you are with TJ, the better prepared you will be for surprise street closings and detours.

What is a SENTRI pass?  Clic aquí.   It is the best Baja trip accessory other than sharp cheddar and toilet paper packed in your Baja rig.

I’m a fan of the TJ/San Ysidro crossing.  Ok, Doc, you must have a dark/masochistic side that enjoys pain and punishment.  Get some help.  I do, I do and it comes in 750ml bottles of grape juice when I am tied to the whippin’ post.  But, once you know TJ and its major geographical conundrum, the TJ RIO,  San Ysidro is the easiest and shortest path to San Diego.

Sometime in 2017, the new bridge connecting Avenida Internacional(the stretch from Tijuana Playas to the border along the Rio) to Av de la Amistad and the Bus Station was completed.  But, I had not tried the new PVCHPM bridge, as I rarely use Av Internacional approach to the border.  Puente Vehicular Centro Histórico-Puerta México is the full name of the bridge.  Will PVC become a good nickname?

Most people screw up Tijuana directions because they can’t handle the traffic pressure and chance detours.  EZ Clark and Ellen Griswold vacationers.  Stick in some Kenny G, Coldplay or Abba in your cassette deck and chill.  You can do it.  Here we go:

Numbered stations 1-7 in above photo are keyed to detail photos below.  Amber circles are roundabouts.

Above is your prerequisite overview study on getting from Mex Hwy 1(Scenic/Toll Road) to Avenida Internacional.  After you pay your 35 peso(as of 2018) toll it is 2.75 miles to “SAN DIEGO/ZONA RIO” right turn.  This right turn becomes a 270 degree turn(looks like an upside down number 4) that will underpass you and put you on Avenida Internacional along the TJ RIO.  CONGRATS!

From this cloverleaf intersection you have another 2.75 miles until your next right turn(step#1 below).

1. A soft right turn is needed just as Av Int’l begins to bend.  A 2 story white building landmark is on this corner. This will put you on the PVC bridge to cross the Rio.

2. After crossing the bridge and the RIO, you will dead end at Av de la Amistad.  Right turn here. Or stop in this store at right for the essentials, in case of a rash or other “leftover encounters” on your Baja visit.

!. This intersection/roundabout/flustercluck on Av de la Amistad requires patience.  Buses, taxis and turistas nerviosas scramble/uturn/actlikeidiots through here.  Just bear right straight thru this spot and approach the BP gas station(I know the old Goog Earth pic shows it as Pemex).

3. Just after the BP gas station, RIGHT LANE ONLY and 90 degree bend to the right.  If you hang a left here and climb the on ramp, enjoy your trip into the abyss!   See my red forbidden sign in the left lane?  Right, right, right lane!

4.  Left at this fork, headed to Paseo Centenario.  Deep breaths, as you are through the hairy part, and close to success. Take it ez, as the omnipresent Dr Carlos Buenrostro, plastic surgeon, is hovering above.

5. Just turn right here. This is Paseo Centenario street. Steps 3,4,5 are just a big U turn, see top map of article.  See that amber building ahead?  That is where we are headed.

6. In one block from step#5, turn left at this light.  Or place your bets at the casino on your right.

[During some busy periods #6 left turn may be stopped by police.  In main photo at top of this article, I have added some light green dots to the trail on Paseo Centenario to take you to the SECOND roundabout.  Hang a left at that 2nd roundy, another left at Av Padre Kino and you will be in the SENTRI lane]

7. Left turn at the El Centenario amber building to enter the SENTRI lanes.  Be certain to stay to the RIGHT of the concrete barriers or you will back at the BP station(step #3) in a hurry.

Enjoy your velvet Jesus portrait, churro , nieve or Cafe D’Volada(xlnt coffee!) order while waiting in line.

In a couple of weeks, I will update this with my own photos to replace the Goog Earth pix.

Someone brave, like my friends at my favorite Mexican auto insurance company, BajaBound, will likely post a spiffy video soon.  I’m just not a video guy, so will let experts handle that task!

What is your favored route to cross the border from Baja into Socal?

For the regular/ready/sentri lanes at San Ysidro, Otay and Tecate, click the links on pages listed in the header on the top of this page:

Ensenada Crime Increases

The report of the CCSP on criminal incidence, establishes that homicides and robbery in its different modalities continued to rise during the first month of the year.


The incidence of crime in homicide continues to rise in Ensenada; yesterday, a victim was added to the statistics.

According to data from the Deputy Attorney General’s Office, Ensenada area, around 4:17 pm, they reported a person killed by gunshots.

The body of the person of the male gender was located in the ejido Leyes de Reforma, in Valle de la Trinidad.

According to data provided by the Public Security Council of the State (CCSP), the report on criminal incidence establishes that homicides, vehicle theft, robbery with violence, robbery without violence, and robbery with violence They kept rising during the first month of the year.

The document details that, of the thousand 050 illicit denounced during the month of January, 245 were auto thefts.

This translates to an average of eight vehicle thefts per day.

The robbery to house room reached the 153 incidents during the first 31 days of 2018, whereas the robberies to commerce, denounced, were 47, whereas the robberies with violence (public road and others), added 31.

The illegal deprivation of liberty, bank robbery and kidnapping had no records during the first month of 2018.

Other crimes reported in this period were: threats, abuse of trust, sexual abuse, corruption of minors, bribery, dispossession, defamation, extortion, rape, fraud, breach of obligations, negligence, rape, intrafamily violence, omission of care, use of false documents, and driving while intoxicated, among others.

It is indicated that, “of the total of the crimes denounced in PGJE, it is established that 75 percent corresponds to crimes that due to their nature may be preventable or attacked by police corporations”.

Avenida Reforma Floods


Reforma Avenue, in the stretch between Calle Hierro and Avenida de las Rosas, was flooded yesterday morning for several hours because the flow of rainwater in that area was blocked by the construction of a dam on a site particular.

The barrier constructed with stones and earth had to be demolished by personnel of Civil Protection and Municipal Public Services, who broke a padlock that closed the access door to the property and proceeded to remove the materials that prevented the flow of rainwater to the area known as La Lagunita.

The intervention of Civil Protection was protected by elements of Municipal Public Safety, and as explained, this was done to prevent vehicular traffic on Reforma Avenue from being affected by the accumulation of rainwater at that point of the road.

It was also reported that several of the businesses surrounding the site where the dam was placed were affected in their operations and goods by the flood caused by the aforementioned wall, which prevented rainwater from reaching La Lagunita or the ocean.

On February 7 in the Official Gazette of the Federation the National Property Declaration # 1/2017 of the waters of the Don Diego and La Laguna Stream, also known as La Lagunita, Laguna El Ciprés, Laguna Formex Ibarra and / or Laguna El Naranjo

Said declaration also includes the channels, glass and federal zone in the extension established by the Law of National Waters, in this case the so-called Arroyo Don Diego.

The decree ensures that the characteristics of national waters referred to in articles 27 and 16 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States are met, because: “because they are waters that from their starting point flow and form currents that give origin to other declared of national property until emptying to the sea “.

The declaration establishes that it will come into force as of the day following its publication, that is to say on February 9, so that the blockade of the Arroyo Don Diego channel could be considered as damage to the Don Diego Creek.

The declaration is signed by Roberto Ramírez de la Parra, director of the National Water Commission and is accompanied by the technical annexes that establish the location and coordinates of the sites included in said declaration.

a) Its waters originate at 1,231 meters northeast of the Government Center of Ensenada, in the Ex-Ejido Chapultepec, Municipality of Ensenada, State of Baja California, at the point with the geographical coordinates Latitud Norte 31 ° 48′ 51.05 “and West Length 116 ° 35′ 02.27 “, according to its location in the topographic chart of INEGI, ENSENADA H11B12.
b) They are of intermittent regime and drain in a well-defined channel.
c) They follow a Northwest course.
d) They cover a total length of 1,960 meters.
e) 1,279 meters approximately downstream of the origin, they change their course to the Southwest.

Mexico Crime Statistics Doctored

For years, the Mexican government has been ordering its various law enforcement agencies to doctor their crime statistics in order to downplay the number of murders, kidnappings and other violent crimes often tied to drug cartels. The effort was apparently done to make it seem like the current Mexican government was making progress in improving the country’s security conditions. 

The order to hide Mexico’s true crime numbers came from the former Secretary of the Interior Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, Mexico’s SinEmbargo.Mx reported. According to information revealed by the former head of Mexico’s National Security System, Juan Miguel Alcantara, Osorio Chong would order them to hide the true number of crimes in order to make the ruling party look favorable. 

In 2015, Osorio Chong publicly claimed that Mexico’s security conditions were the best they had been in a decade, Breitbart Texas reported. The outlandish claim was made as the country was undergoing a fierce escalation of cartel violence as rival criminal organizations fought for drug trafficking and production areas. 

One of the ways the government would doctor the statistics would be to only count the number of case files instead of counting the number of victims. This means that in cases of multiple homicides, they were counted as one murder in the statistics, SinEmbargo.Mx reported. 

Breitbart Texas has reported about how the Mexican government works to portray an image of security as cartel violence continues to spiral out of control. The new revelation from Alcantara raises questions about the most recent crimes statistics where 2017 was the year with most murders in Mexico. Based on the new information, the true numbers would likely be much higher. 

In a country where cartel gunmen not only murder their victims but also dispose of their bodies by incinerating them, burying them in clandestine graves, or by dumping the bodies in lakes, Mexican authorities have found a new way to hide all those murders, Breitbart Texas has reported. All those individuals whose body has been disposed of are simply recorded as “disappeared” and not as kidnapped or murdered.

New Border Wall


One of President Donald Trump’s main campaign platforms was to build a border wall. Now at the beginning of his second year in office, Congress is locked in a stalemate over funding the wall and providing a pathway to citizenship for so-called “dreamers.”

Meanwhile, the Border Patrol last week touted a new 30-foot structure replacing a little over two miles of decades-old barriers in Calexico as part of “the border wall.” Media announced the development as the first installation of Trump’s wall.

Plans for the project began in 2009, according to Border Patrol agent Justin Castrejon, well before Trump as a candidate began calling for a border wall.

Congress has not passed any bills specifically funding Trump’s border wall.

Money for the Calexico project came in Trump’s first year in office with the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, according to a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection. That legislation gives CBP about $260.9 million for “procurement, construction, and improvements.”

The Calexico project contract will cost about $18 million, Castrejon said.

Agents generally used the term “fence” to refer to barriers that were in place prior to the Trump administration. With the announcement of this project, that seems to be changing.

“We are calling this a border wall,” Castrejon said. “It is not a new wall. It’s a replacement wall.”

The new barrier is made of bollards — posts placed close together so that people can’t get through but agents can see if anyone is on the other side. The posts are thicker and taller than the 15- to 20-foot bollards erected in the 2000s in other parts of the El Centro Sector.

The new project is replacing old Vietnam War-era landing mats that were put up in the 1990s.

Ken Walsh, professor of construction engineering at San Diego State University, said the difference between a fence and a wall is that fences can be seen through and have posts.

Walls, he said, are opaque and have a continuous base instead of posts. Height doesn’t make a difference in the terminology, he said.

That would mean the new structure going up in Calexico is a fence, and the landing mat barrier that it’s replacing is actually a wall.

On Thursday, the second day of construction, workers used a large Caterpillar machine to pull down a few pieces of old landing mat.

Mexican authorities patrolled in a shade of trees south of the border to keep anyone from trying to cross through the gap. One paused to record on his phone as workers plucked one of the large metal sheets out of the ground with construction equipment.

Workers hadn’t yet started putting up the new bollards. They lay in a stack nearby.

Pieces of the new structure will go up before more of the old material comes down, Castrejon said, to keep security risks to a minimum.

He said the barrier is not an “end all,” but a “force multiplier.”

It will run from the banks of the New River on the west side of downtown Calexico past Gran Plaza Outlets to a stretch of fields lined with crops, solar panels and, in some cases, just dirt.

The area has been problematic for agents, Castrejon said, both in terms of crossings and assaults on Border Patrol. Agents in El Centro apprehended about 18,500 people illegally crossing the border in fiscal 2017, according to data from CBP.

Known as one of the most polluted rivers in the nation, the New River causes particular trouble, Castrejon said, because smugglers often encourage unauthorized immigrants to use the green, smelly water to swim into the U.S.

Agents are instructed not to go into the water unless there’s a life-or-death emergency. They consider someone trying to splash them with the polluted water as an assault.

Agents hope the updated barrier will prevent people from trying to cross through the river. Castrejon was unable to give details about construction plans for the river itself.

The El Centro Sector of Border Patrol has several types of barriers that vary based on geography and how much action agents see in a particular area.

The western-most part of the sector begins in the mountains, where geography acts as the only deterrent to people crossing into the U.S. without authorization.

Where state Route 98 stretches from Interstate 8 through desert toward the city of Calexico, a low, airy fence lines the border. It doesn’t block people from crossing on foot, but it keeps cars from driving through low brush to the highway, where they can disappear into traffic.

Though “drive throughs,” as agents call them, were a big problem for the area in the past, the sector didn’t have any last year, Castrejon said, and he attributed that to the fencing.

“Infrastructure — it helps. It works,” he said.

The sector doesn’t need to spend resources on more elaborate barriers in that area, he said.

Agents have camera towers to watch for pedestrians in the desert, and they periodically drag old tires to smooth the soil so they can track footprints. Because it can take hours to hike from the border to the highway on foot, Castrejon said, agents have time to catch unauthorized immigrants before they get away.

Closer to Calexico, where the new project is located, agents have less time to catch border crossers before they make it to roads or residential areas. Agents rely on barriers that block pedestrians to help them with their work.

In the 90s, the landing mats were installed along the two-mile stretch leading west out of Calexico where the new structure is now going up.

After the opaque metal sheets were in place, the Calexico Arts Council commissioned a mural along part of the barrier, a friendship bracelet to affirm a close relationship between the two countries that the landing mats separated. A few of the painted sections will be kept in a local museum after they come down.

In the 2000s, a barrier made of bollards went up both in downtown Calexico and between the landing mats and the vehicle fence in the desert.

San Diego also has sections of barrier made of old landing mats. In places that kept agents busy with frequent crossings, the federal government built a second row of fencing.

Because much of the land near the border in Calexico is private property, Castrejon said, secondary fencing was not a viable solution to give agents there more support.

The Calexico construction is one of three projects at the center of a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s use of a waiver to comply with environmental laws to speed up border infrastructure work. The waiver was also used on the wall prototypes on Otay Mesa and a planned fencing replacement project in San Diego.

The judge’s decision could come any day, raising questions about what would happen if the Calexico project has to stop.

Castrejon said he couldn’t comment on pending litigation.

A fence isn’t inferior to a wall, said Walsh, the engineering professor. What matters is how well it serves its purpose of keeping people from crossing into the U.S. without authorization.

“By virtue of being taller, whether you call it a ‘fence’ or call it a ‘wall,’ it should still be more difficult to cross,” Walsh said.

Walsh also pointed to the American Society of Civil Engineers report on the condition of U.S. infrastructure. Last year, the country earned a D+ for the quality of its roads, bridges, fences and walls.

“Everything eventually needs to be replaced,” Walsh said.

Regardless of the word used to describe the new barrier, Castrejon is excited about the increased visibility the bollard fence will give to agents working in the area.

“This is historic times,” Castrejon said.

Carnaval Hurt Ensenada Businesses


For six days part of the Costero Boulevard was closed

ENSENADA BC FEBRUARY 24, 2018 (AFN) .- The celebration of the past Carnival left uneasiness among local businessmen, who expressed their displeasure in a letter addressed to the members of the Cabildo of the 22nd Town Hall of Ensenada, where they ask to clarify who will respond by the damages caused by the location of the celebration, since part of the Costero Boulevard was closed for six days.

Jorge Nava Jiménez, president of the Employers Confederation of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex), and Enrique Vázquez Moreno, of the Regional Development Commission of the same organization, requested that in the following editions of the Carnival a better place be selected, since they argued that the territorial extension of the city of Ensenada is wide.

In the letter the Coparmex requests that the Municipal Government take seriously the organization of the Carnival celebration, and plan ahead and select a better place to celebrate it, which they said will allow it to be carried out in an orderly, peaceful and successful manner and will avoid damaging to third parties, such as local businessmen.

They emphasized that in the recent edition the right of established businesses to operate normally throughout the year was not considered, since the location of the Carnival affected the activity of more than 100 businesses, some of which had to close during the days of the popular celebration.

In the document the Coparmex points out that at the location of the Carnival there were arbitrariness and inconsistencies such as: “installing mechanical games with electric power supply in front of a gasoline service station, without a prior opinion issued by law by Civil Protection, or closing the roads in front of an ambulance service “.

Bajadock: This was the scene at entry to Cerveceria Wendlandt during Carnaval.  Below is map of street closure.

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