San Ysidro Stories

Phony construction worker busted by Border Patrol

Attempt at coffee klatch camouflage backfires

A Mexican national was arrested on Monday, April 7, after attempting to pose as a construction worker, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. At around 6:30 in the morning, a man arrived at ...

Smugglers try the horse trick at Smugglers Gulch

Worth risking the animals

Border Patrol agents in Imperial Beach are seeing an upsurge in bicycles and horses being used to smuggle humans across, Border Patrol spokesman Tim Hamill confirmed Friday. In the past few weeks, Border Patrol agents ...

Ed talks out of school

Sweetwater High teachers complain of class size, move one step closer to strike

The imminent strike action of teachers, librarians, and nurses in the Sweetwater Union High School district has gone one step forward and two steps back. On March 27 Superintendent Ed Brand called a press conference ...

At the house of frog tacos

This food truck delivers top food and bottom prices

You notice it as you come in on the Blue Line: The pool of light. The clump of customers. The mariscos (seafood) food truck. Everybody's standing around, heads forward, chowing down. Lotta customers: good sign. ...

SENTRI pass border-crossers frustrated

Route change and lack of signage creates clusterfunk

Drivers coming north from Tijuana through the San Ysidro Port of Entry this week have been struggling to figure out the new route to the SENTRI lanes — a route that hasn't worked well for ...

Unsafe border buses

A little-noticed report by the inspector general’s office of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has found that software problems lasting almost a year, from September 2012 through August 2013, prevented U.S. state officials from ...

San Ysidro border station nearing completion

Photos show finishing touches being applied

The new border station in San Ysidro is nearing completion. Here is a series of photos showing the new station and some of its features.

Warning: Do not take weed into Mexico

A survey of who does and what happens if you do

“It seems like Border Patrol read your Tijuana junkie and dealer article,” my brother jokingly told me on Facebook. He had recently noticed a new sign posted near the border that reads “Medical marijuana prohibited ...

No uptick in border-business sales…yet

"It is going to impact the store. The majority of our customers are Mexican."

Though it is just after the buying season, San Diego border businesses are expecting an increase in traffic from the Mexican sales tax hike of 2014. "As of right now, it's pretty slow. We're not ...

Border Patrol training exercise moved up on schedule

Tactics to thwart border breaches like the one on November 24

With horses, shields, fake and real tear gas, and one biting dog, about 90 U.S. Border Patrol agents from the San Diego Sector trained for crowd and riot control atop Spooner's Mesa in the Tijuana ...

Video footage before “Viva Villa” border incident

Filmmakers came upon assembling masses, started recording

The three filmmakers producing under the name UK Balaam Productions seem to have nothing to do with instigating the November 24 border incident in which over 100 migrants confronted Border Patrol officers. In a long ...

Showdown #2 fizzles near San Ysidro Port of Entry

Demonstrators back off before confrontation occurs

This week, immigrant-rights activist Enrique Morones again praised the U.S. Border Patrol for the restraint they showed during the November 24 confrontation in the Tijuana River channel just east of the shopping malls. "They showed ...

“Viva Villa movement” under investigation

Note surfaces, documentary filmmakers deny involvement

Authorities are searching for who’s responsible for the attempt at a mass illegal border crossing on Sunday, November 24. At least 100 migrants tried to cross the border à la Cheech Marin in the film ...

Border Patrol confronted the Viva Villa movement

Incident involved 100 migrants — or a revolutionary brigade?

On Sunday, November 24, a group of over 100 migrants attempted to cross the border, walking toward it via the Tijuana River flood-control channel, coming face-to-face with Border Patrol officers. They group called it part ...

Border Patrol agents stop advancing crowd of 100

Rocks thrown, pepperball launchers deployed

A lone U.S Border Patrol agent posted south of Camino de la Plaza near the shopping malls east of the San Ysidro port of entry Sunday found himself fending off a crowd of people running ...

Latest San Ysidro transit center plan considered users

“They want a nice public bathroom. We wouldn't have thought of that."

San Ysidro residents got their first look at the latest set of plans for a new transportation center at the San Ysidro border crossing on Wednesday night, November 13. Residents who gathered at the San ...

U.S. government shutdown slows maquiladoras

Increased border waits limits exports

Ever since the “shutdown” of the U.S. government, maquiladoras have experienced plenty of extra expenditures, including fuel costs, keeping vehicles in “overnight” lots, and fines for delivering merchandise late. Gabriel Merino Fausto, president of a ...

Poets cause trouble at U.S.-Mexican border fence

“You know we’re going to see you.”

An international incident interrupted the "Poesía transfronteriza" poetry reading attended by over 60 people on August 25 at the border fence in Friendship Park. People on both sides of the border watched a series of ...

Document readers installed at San Ysidro border crossing

Draped in black plastic like a Christo art project

Crossing the border at San Ysidro last week, pedestrians, once inside the U.S. border station building, were greeted by mysterious devices at the head of each line. The devices appeared to be robotic in nature, ...

Southern Mexicans flock to San Ysidro and Otay

Anonymous source says they seek U.S. asylum

Hundreds of Mexicans fleeing the increasingly lawless state of Michoacán have sought asylum at the San Ysidro and Otay ports of entry this week, an anonymous source has told the Baja California daily El Mexicano. ...

Border-crosser subdued by agents in San Ysidro

Defiant man is sprayed into submission

Border-crossing pedestrians coming into San Ysidro witnessed a border-security takedown on August 5, as U.S. agents corralled a man and blasted him with a gaseous substance in order to arrest him. The incident occurred at ...

Did Manuel Paul illegally burn San Ysidro School District papers?

Whistleblower placed on administrative leave

Curious reports continue regarding burned papers retrieved from a burn barrel in the maintenance yard of the San Ysidro School District. The incident, which was first reported on July 3 by NBC7, resulted in the ...

Baja is back

Hip and delicious. There’s no reason not to get in your car and go.

Tijuana is making a comeback, thanks to hipsters, hypesters, and people that never gave up on the border city.

San Ysidrans object to aspects of proposed border design

“It’s really a big glorified trolley station.”

The San Ysidro Community Planning Group held a special meeting on July 10 at the Colonel Irving Salomon Community Activity Center to receive input from residents and business owners about land-use plans for the border ...

Border-crossing projects at San Ysidro and Tijuana

Widened road, new building

Border construction projects by the governments of the U.S. and Mexico were advancing at a rapid clip through the month of June. On the U.S. side, in San Ysidro, the three-story superstructure of the new ...

Incursions on the rise, says Border Patrol

Two vehicles with 35 people make attempt to cross

Faced with huge budget cuts at the midpoint of their fiscal year, Border Patrol agents from the Imperial Beach station (and other stations along the border) are doubling up in many of the patrol vehicles ...

Tijuana curio shops struggle to stay in business

Movement to stock “higher quality” products

The once-booming curio business on Tijuana's Avenida Revolución has dwindled to a trickle as the tastes of tourists who still visit what was once known as "the most traveled avenue in the world" have shifted, ...

The San Ysidro Port of Entry reconstruction plan

Entry lanes to nearly double

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) held a meeting at Casa Familiar’s arts and cultural center in San Ysidro on Thursday, May 9, to display plans for a massive reconstruction of the San Ysidro Port ...

Dept. of Homeland Security considers border entry fee

Money would make up for budget shortfall

A translation of a front-page headline on Baja’s daily El Mexicano on Tuesday, April 23, reads, "They Might Charge to Cross to the U.S.” beginning in 2014. The story was about the U.S. Department of ...

San Ysidro soon to have transportation center?

Grand scale, hands-on, model-making meeting

Over 60 community members gathered at the San Ysidro Civic Center on Thursday, April 18, to let their voices be heard about the potential building of a world-class “intermodal transportation center” at the San Ysidro ...

What the sequester means for the border

Mostly bad news

“April is the cruelest month…”, begins the first line of T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land,” perhaps more aptly retitled “The Wait Land” for the border region. This April, federal budgetary squabbles and sequestration cuts ...

Baja California economy suffers for lack of northern visitors

Border waits partly to blame

Baja California residents spend three times more money in the U.S. than do Americans visiting south of the border, according to Armando Rogelio Lara Valle, the director of Baja California's planning and development committee. According ...

Controversial killings protested in San Ysidro

“Investigation” continues three years later

A group of about 250 demonstrators at the San Ysidro Port of Entry called for justice and transparency on Saturday, February 23. The loud and peaceful protesters, including the families of three people killed by ...

Mexican men rescued from San Ysidro sewer pipe

Trapped for more than 12 hours

Four illegal immigrants were rescued from a sewage filled pipe by San Diego Fire and Rescue on the night of Wednesday, February 13. Afterward, the men were hosed off and handed over to Customs and ...

Long Lines at San Ysidro Border Crossing

Seasonal congestion and construction in progress

Long lines and long waits appear to be the daily order at the border this holiday season. Earlier this week, pedestrians stretched back a quarter of a mile; those waiting to cross in cars went ...

New pedestrian inspection station soon at Tijuana border 

New rectangular columns of steel rebar sprout into space from a plot of land on the Mexican side of the border at San Ysidro. The columns, easily reaching the height of the multistoried office building ...

Baby Saved at San Ysidro Border

Border Patrol to the rescue

On Tuesday morning, November 27, at about 6:30, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents at the San Ysidro border crossing helped save the life of a month-old baby who appeared to be suffering from serious ...

Mexico's New Border Crossing Fails Grand Opening

The newly opened border-crossing facility dubbed El Chaparral opened its 22 gates to the full flow of Mexico-bound vehicle traffic on Friday, November 1, and motorists were forced to endure “embotellamientos” (traffic jams) in various ...

Say Hi to New Turnstiles at U.S.-Mexico Border Crossing

The new way to walk into Mexico via the San Ysidro route turns out to be pretty simple if one just follows instructions. No less than six bilingual women wearing red, short-sleeved polo shirts are ...

Mystery Road Poured at U.S.-Mexico Border

Whether it will be used as a traffic route or just a utility road between the old Mexican border station and the new one (now under construction) is open to conjecture, but a new road ...

New Borderline Road to Aid Patrols Near Goat Canyon

The U.S. Border Patrol recently finished pouring concrete on an extraordinary road that's less than a half mile long but is so steep and twisty that it couldn't be built by private contractors. The road ...

Tijuana Wastewater Cleaner Than San Diego’s

For the first time since it was built in 1997, the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant at the U.S.-Mexico border has met the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency three months in a ...

Solar Power Company Sues San Ysidro School District

President Obama’s 2008 election brought money and emphasis to alternative energy in the United States. For some former lobbyists and politicians, this emphasis became an entrepreneurial opportunity. A 2009 article in the Sacramento Business Journal ...

No Road Yet to Tijuana's New Border Station

Mexico and the United States appear to be in a race to see who can erect their new respective border ports first. Both sides have been constructing at a feverish pace. The U.S. border station ...

Worse Traffic Delays May Precede Border Crossing Openings

According to Tijuana’s daily Frontera, lack of binational coordination and U.S. budgetary bottlenecks could make the effort to ease border-crossing times a spectacular failure — a fracaso, as one Mexican official put it. Although efforts ...

Sweetwater's Funds for Education

Last week, Sweetwater’s interim superintendent Ed Brand suspended the Funds for Education Committee, saying, “I can stop the grief right here.” This is the second time Brand’s private-sector fund-raising efforts have ended in controversy. Brand ...

Borderline Tours

Mike Harris drives his blue Ford Ranger pickup south on Hollister Street, through the Tijuana River Valley, toward the border. He stops the truck on the shoulder and calls the Border Patrol to tell a ...

The Only Way to Walk Across the Border in Five Minutes

It is with some reluctance that I write about my recent acquisition of the SENTRI border-crossing card because, well, I got a good thing going. After years of standing for hours in that long, sinuous ...

Shot in Tijuana: At the Border

The large column in the foreground is part of the reconstruction of the San Ysidro border-crossing station. Its length seems to increase every day as steelworkers and welders work on it. Whether it will be ...

The Sweetwater School Board Hits the Canvas Again

"The honeymoon might be over,” acknowledged Dr. Edward Brand, interim superintendent for Sweetwater Union High School District. Knee-deep in scandal, the Sweetwater school board on June 21 fired Superintendent Jesus Gandara. On June 22, Brand ...

The Tyranny of Those Tests

"Teachers have an analogy for all the testing that we are required to do,” says Melanie Morton, a Sweetwater Union High School District teacher. “You don’t lose weight if you just keep stepping on the ...

Details on San Ysidro Border Scaffolding Collapse

A collapse of scaffolding placed around the old pedestrian bridge at the San Ysidro border crossing closed the crossing for more than 12 hours on September 14, the longest period of time in 30 years. ...