After First Lady Pat Nixon dedicated the Friendship Monument at Borderfield State Park in 1971, an aide cut through the barbed wire that marked the international boundary. She stepped through into Mexico, and said she hoped there wouldn’t be a fence there much longer. Since then, however, the opposite has happened: ever more barriers have been erected. A fence of close-set vertical railroad rails now extends into the surf, and a second fence will soon slice across the park, cutting off access to the monument. A road is being constructed between the fences, and canyons in the Border Highlands are being filled with soil from erosive hills that were habitat for endangered species. Congress granted the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive any law “necessary to insure expeditious construction” of the border barriers, and former Secretary Michael Chertoff used that authority.
David Maung has lived on the San Diego-Tijuana border for 13 years, and has been documenting the human story as it unfolds on both sides of the barrier.