In the southwestern-most part of San Diego there stood a massive, flat-topped dirt hill. Or, in the language of the southwest, it was called a mesa. On the top of this mesa was a small portion of the international boundary between the United States and Mexico.
About fifteen miles straight northwest up the coast stood the high rise luxury condos, hotels and office buildings of Downtown San Diego.
Visible just on the western side of this modern city scape was the curved ridge line of the Point Loma peninsula. It was shrouded by mist from the always thickening and dissipating Pacific coast marine layer. The tubular blue curve of the Coronado Bay Bridge slashed its way in front of it all. The whole scene scintillated under the soon to be blistering morning sun. And even for a Saturday morning, any observer could easily see from that vantage point that traffic on the nearby freeways was starting to get heavy.
On the Mexican side of the hill was the Ensenada Highway in Tijuana. It was busy with multiple lanes of east-west vehicle traffic all day, every day and every night, all of the time.
On the United States side, the massive hilltop extended north for about half of a mile and served as a great observation deck for Border Patrol Agents to keep watch over the nearby east side of the Tijuana River Valley. The view was clear and provided a clean picture of the Montezuma Road Bridge directly below it and to the north and to the Santa Malvada Port of Entry two miles to the east. And to the west they could look out into the Pacific Ocean for illegal marine activity. The hilltop and thus the vantage point were both situated near the polluted border shores of an otherwise prototypical Southern California beach town named Chivato Beach.
Just on the Mexican side of the hilltop, on the eastern slope, there was a massive concrete wall imbedded in the side of the hill and exposed in such a way
that those looking from north to south could easily see it. Why it was there was a complete mystery. How it was still there was an even deeper mystery. Through simple visual observation any eye could see that it was in a clear state of perpetual decay. Perhaps it was built as a retaining wall or as a sort of foundation for the Ensenada Highway a few feet away from it back when the highway was originally built. No one seemed to know and no one could ever figure it out. Then again no one really put too much effort into trying to figure it out because no one truly cared.
The base of the wall served as a spot for the borderland homeless to congregate, boot heroin and defecate. It also served as a place for these seemingly country-less people to hide from entrepreneurial Tijuana police officers, who never squandered the opportunity to bolster their meager paychecks by stealing whatever pocket change they could from the Tijuana destitute. The base of the wall was also a popular staging area for soon-to-be aliens before making an attempt at illegal entry into the United States.
From where twenty-eight year Border Patrol Agent Frank Radman sat on the United States side of the naturally available observation deck, he could clearly spy on the action at the base of the wall through his binoculars. The names of towns and cities from all over Mexico were scrawled and spray painted in chicken scratch graffiti on the crumbling wall. Places like Tuxtla, D.F., Tamaulipas, Oaxaca, Culiacan and Guadalajara. Michoacán was by far the dominant name. It was written in every conceivable font and writing implement from charred chunk of wood to every shade of red, white and green spray paint.
Just on the north side of the wall, a tour bus came within one hundred yards of the international boundary and parked. Could this wall be what driver of the tour bus on the U.S. side pulled up there to see? A filthy concrete wall tattooed with graffiti? Possibly.
Or maybe th
ey were there to see the newest addition to border infrastructure and implied dedication the United States had to the enforcement of its immigration laws. That had to be it. They must have been there to get a good look at the hotly debated, highly protested and quickly completed triple layer fence. The tax payer funded, ten billion dollar project stretched all the way from the most southwestern corner of the United States in Chivato Beach, California, to the western base of Tecate Mountain twenty-five miles to the east.
The massive construction project was initially proposed by an anonymous special interest group. The public suspected that this group was comprised of state and federal oligarchs who championed it with never ending advertisements and public speeches. The fact that the projects vocal advocates also collectively owned several of the construction and technology companies that bid for and were awarded the construction contracts did not undermine the publics growing mistrust and perpetual disappointment with its government.
The project was completed in just over six months. It was a world record completion time for a project of such immensity.
The project was simple enough on paper since it consisted primarily of three fences, a concrete moat, several drainage tunnels and two roads. The moat was to remain unfilled by any type of liquid anyone could drown in and therefore not technically a moat, but the deep V shape it sliced into the Earth gave its creators no other option but to call it a moat. The concept of the project was simple but by no means was the creation a simple task, no more than it could simply be called a collection of fences and roads. Physically and politically it was a behemoth.
And the fact that it went from concept to complete in a half of a year is a fact that only a few found either nefarious or worthy of speculation.
The fence system itself consisted of three parts. The first was a primary fence on
the international boundary itself between the United States and Mexico. It served as the de facto demarcation line separating the two countries. It was there as an undeniable physical barrier proving that the boundary was real and not just a line on a map or in the sand. It was constructed of a twenty-five mile long series of metal bollards arranged in a short zig-zag pattern making it impossible to slip through for all but the most dedicated anorexics.
On top of it was a nasty trio of barbed wire, razor wire and concertina wire. It was arranged in such a fashion as to ensure that anyone who made it to the top of the fence would be impaled and lacerated from every direction and every angle whether they decided to retreat back into Mexico or proceed north into the United States. It added about an additional three feet of height to the primary fence and was very intimidating when seen from either side. Its pointed barbs and shiny blades glistened in even the dimmest moonlight.
The secondary fence was in some places along the twenty-five mile stretch only twenty feet north of the primary and in other places it was as far away as fifty yards. Its height was a constant twenty feet at all points and topped off with the same trio of wires bearing their metal thorns and quills. It was made out of a stainless steel and aluminum alloy sheet stamped into a mesh pattern woven so tight and at such an angle that you could see right through it to the other side as if it were almost transparent. This weave pattern also made it literally impossible to climb without a ladder or a grappling hook. At strategic locations throughout its twenty-five mile length were automatic gates that were opened via remote control and closed via timer.
Twenty yards north of the secondary was the tertiary fence. It was a simple chain link fence twelve feet high with a simple triple strand layer of barbed wire running along its length. It had manually operated gates to correspond wit
h the automatic ones on the secondary fence. These remained in the locked position at all times.
Between the primary and secondary fences and between the secondary and tertiary fences were each a two-lane paved road. Each one was complete with polished black asphalt and yellow meridian. The only things missing from these roads that would make them ordinary city streets were the traffic signals, pedestrian crossing signs and chirping digital birds for the blind.
The fence system and accompanying road system ran in an almost straight line with the exception of a few minor curves here and there, but nothing too dramatic. The entire thing did have some dramatic ups and downs due to the hilly nature of the canyon-rich terrain. In the spots where the engineers thought that the construction of the fence and road system might be hindered by the depth of a draw or canyon, they simply filled it in with unfathomable quantities of dirt scraped from the tops of the adjacent mesas.
Armies of massive earth movers, enormous back hoes and earth scrappers with tires as large as trash trucks made land bridges as big as mountains to span the gaps between the canyons. This sculpted a once unapproachable slope into one smooth, almost flat, contiguous surface as easy to drive across as any flat open road on any flat open plane on earth.
This drastic transformation and manipulation of the landscape caused uproar in the environmental community throughout the entire state. It also gave open border advocates something to hide their human rights agenda behind. Motions were filed and petitions were submitted that normally would have slowed, brought to a grinding halt or completely put an end to any other project like this. But this one moved along as smoothly and as efficiently as the construction of a termite colony in an abandoned lumber yard.
The two very busy...