Marron Valley, between Otay Mesa and Tecate Peak is now probably the most open part of the California border. There are about 6-7 miles of border that have no barrier at all. The Tijuana river is dry most of the year and can be crossed easily on foot. The river crisscrosses the border in this area. The lack of any border barrier is likely due to the difficulty of building a barrier where the river crosses in this way. When it rains, this dry-wash turns into a raging river again, which can easily knock down even a very strong fence.
Drug smuggling and traditional illegal immigration seem to be the main activity in Marron Valley, but there also appears to be a significant amount of fraudulent asylum-seekers crossing in this area in recent years.
There are lots of rat trails crisscrossing this entire area, as you can see in this image. These trails are used by drug smugglers, criminals and traditional illegal border crossers, who do not want to be caught by the Border Patrol to claim asylum. Click on the image to expand and see the rat trails better.
The video shows an agent driving down to the Tijuana river to make a pickup. Most places on the border that have a significant amount of fake refugee traffic have a place that is much like a bus stop where they pick them up the future progressive voters and shuttle them to the Border Patrol station for processing and probable release into the land of milk and honey. I believe a government-funded nonprofit will even pay their airfare if they need it.
The images below is trash that illegal crossers left behind at what I call the overlook. When the Border Patrol does not pick them up quickly enough, they may start walking up the hill. The Border Patrol gives them new clothes at the station and will only allow them to keep a few, small personal items. So the illegal crossers throw most of their things on the ground as soon as they have crossed the border and know that they will be picked up.
If you wish to go to the border overlook in Marron Valley, you can search for South Bay Rod & Gun Club in your navigator. After you arrive at the Gun Club, follow the direction as shown in the map below to drive to the area overlooking the border. There is a gate there and I have been told by BP agents not to go past the gate, because it is not safe.
Also, your navigator may take you there, if you paste these latitude and longitude coordinates for the overlook into your navigator (32°34’41.6″N 116°45’47.8″W).
Between Tecate and the small town of Campo there is valley with 1.3 miles of border where there is no barrier, at all. Campo creek crosses the border at this location. The community is called “Canyon City”. The Border Patrol apparently calls this part of the border “Trestle Valley”, because an old railroad bridge is there.
Even though there are a couple of gaps in the border fence in California, the fence overall is much better than it was a couple of years ago. A small gap does not negate the rest of the fence that has been built. A border barrier is not an all-or-nothing situation. The new fence may not be perfect, but it is a great help to the Border Patrol. When it becomes more difficult to cross and fewer places to cross, the price goes up and fewer people can afford to cross. It becomes physically more risky to cross, also.
On either side of this gap are several hundred yards of older bollard fence, built at the end of the Bush term or early in the Obama term in office. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 is what authorized the building of a barrier on the border in response to the 9/11 attacks. Bush began building the new steel bollard fence and it was continued for a time under Obama. It wasn’t a political football at that time and Obama didn’t stop it immediately, but he didn’t finish it either.
The current fence built by Trump is very similar to the earlier steel-bollard design, just generally higher, about 28-30 feet. This is the fence that the Border Patrol wanted. Along the 160-mile California border there is about 50-60 miles of the old Bus/Obama fence and about the same amount was built by Trump.
Between Tijuana and Tecate there are still about seven miles of wide-open border. This post shows how it looks and issues are discussed that may explain why it has been left open. Some of it is rocky, mountain ridges, but still there are a few miles, where a person can walk across on relatively flat ground with no barrier at all to stop him.
Though it still needs some work, the state of the Border Fence is really pretty good along the rest of the 160-mile California border, tremendously better than it was in 2018, before the new construction started.
However, Marron Valley is just one place that was skipped for some reason. Maybe it is for a good reason? It is probably because this section presents a more difficult engineering problem than most other sections. So, it was not rolled out like other sections of fence on the border with a more standard, less expensive design.
You might compare this section with the small section that runs into the Pacific Ocean near San Diego. That section has not been replaced either. It would take a special design and a crew with special skills to construct a bollard fence that extends into the surf. So, that part has apparently also been left for a future project.
This map shows the layout of the area. It is about 11.5 miles from Tijuana (or Otay Mesa on the US side) to Tecate. There is about four miles of pre-existing fence, built around 2008-2010 on Otay Mountain. 1.5 miles of new double fence is being constructed on the west side to better secure the Otay Mountain area. However, there are about seven miles of border that has no barrier whatsoever. You can click on these images to obtain a larger view.
This map shows a closer view of the current gap and is at an angle compared to the previous map to better display the terrain. It shows where the fence stops on the slopes of Otay Mountain. The area of completely open border extends from there about seven miles across Marron Valley and across the slopes of Tecate Peak to the outskirts of Tecate.
This is a close up panoramic image of one part of Marron Valley at the end of Marron Valley Road in . The border would be about 100 yeards on the other side of the river in this area. You can see that there is no barrier on the border at all and a dirt road that crosses the border.
Here is a broader view of the same part of Marron Valley above.
I was told I could see into Maroon Valley from the top of Tecate Peak. The road can be pretty rough, but you can drive all the way to the top with an all-wheel-drive vehicle if the road has been graded recently. The distance is about four miles to the top.
This is an overlook of Marron Valley on a hazy day. You can click on this photo and expand it for a better view. You just make out the Tijuana River bed as a meandering dark line of trees/brush at the bottom of the valley. ( I may go back on a more clear day for better photos.)
Next is an Image of the terrain to the north of the border and Marron Valley. If you look to the very left side, you can see the Tijuana River as a dark splotch at the bottom of the valley.
Certainly there are many paths illegal crossers can take to hike across the border here to a pickup location on Highway 94. You can click on this panoramic image and obtain a larger, high-resolution view.
I did not approach the border from the Mexican side, either, as I sometimes do, because only dirt roads lead down to the border in that isolated area and there are serious drug operations taking place there. A young Mexican citizen, working for the US Embassy as an agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture was killed in the area just across the border while collecting insects in October, 2020. The Narcos apparently thought he was spying on them. His body was riddled with nine bullets. So, I decided not to try to approach the border on the Mexican side for a better view!
The image below shows the fence as it ends on the slope of Tecate Peak just west of the town of Tecate. The town of Tecate has a new 30-foot bollard fence, but this smaller section going up the slopes of Tecate Peak is an older, 15-foot fence, probably built around 2008-2010. From where this fence ends, there is no border barrier for about seven miles until the fences starts up again on the east side of Otay Mountain.
Finally, here is a photo of Tecate and the border wall from Tecate Peak. The dark line dividing the U.S. and Mexico is a 30-foot bollard fence. I it actually about 26 feet high, but construted of 30-foot bollards, with a four-foot high anti-climb plate on top. The actual height depends on how deep the bollards are set in the ground.
I have not talked to the Public Affairs Officer for the San Diego Sector about why there is no fence, at all, in this area. I speculate that the reason they have not built a new fence here is probably due to the expense of building in this rugged, isolated area and also that it would be a significant engineering challenge to build a fence here. The likely reason is that the Tijuana river meanders back and forth across the border and also the run-off from mountain slopes drain into the Tijuana River. The river is probably dry or nearly dry most of the time, but when it rains there will be huge flash floods that could wash a fence away, even when it is set in concrete several feet deep. They don’t build in river beds. They could build a little north of the river, but there may be a land ownership issue with that.
It is cheaper and easier to build in other places and so this place was probably at the bottom of the list. They were trying to build as many miles of fence as possible with the funding that they had before Trump might have to leave office. Maybe they will be able to construct a barrier here in future years?
Four miles of 30-foot steel bollard fence have been finished in Tecate, California. Previously there was mostly landing mat fence here 8-10 feet high and a couple of small sections of low bollard fence that was built probably around 2008. Landing matt fence was originally intended only to stop vehicles, not to stop persons crossing on foot.
The fence runs towards Mt Celli in the east an older, it is joined up with and older, pre-Trump, bollard fence which already existed on the hill.
This vehicle belongs to Marines assisting the Border Patrol directly on the Border. My understanding is that they watch for illegal crossers and call the Border to apprehend them. They use the van to transport detainees. The back area of the van has been modified to transport prisoners. I did not take their photos, because they did not want to be photographed.
In past administrations they would talk about sending troops to the border, but they would not be armed and not directly on the border. These Marines are armed with loaded weapons and they are directly on the border. There are probably hundreds of them deployed in this way along the entire border.
The next photo shows the transition from the “Trump Wall” to the “Bush Fence”. The pre-existing bollard fence on the right was most likely built in the last couple of years of the Bush administration or the very early years of the Obama administration, before Obama cut it off. On the left is the “Trump Wall”. In this area, the older Bush bollard fence is about 15 feet tall and the new Trump fence is about 26 feet tall. It depends on how deep the foundation is and they may have reason to plant the bollards deeper here, such as to discourage shallow tunnels under the fence.
The Border Patrol has been calling this a “fence” for about 15 years or longer. There were a couple hundred miles of this bollard fence on the border, before Trump. They have long experience with it and this is the design they wanted to continue with the new construction. It is much to Trump’s credit that he gave them what they wanted. It is not the Border Patrol’s fault that the earlier fence was often dilapidated junk. It was the fault of past administrations, who did not support border security adequately.
This photo shows a section of the older Obama fence in the foreground and the new Trump fence in the back ground. Some of it was there before Obama’s term in office, but I call it the Obama fence, because he was legally obligated to build a secure border fence by the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Obama did not attempt to do it so he owns the previous fence.
Even the concertina wire was added during the Trump administration. Earlier, there was only the vehicle barrier in this area made out of sections of pipes wielded together. A person could just walk across in this area to the east of Mount Celli. In the middle of Tecate, it was the landing matt fence, which us only slightly better.
This next image is from the Mexican side, made in 2016, before the new fence was built. It shows this section of the border just east of Mt. Celli before the new fence was built. There was a couple hundred yards of old 15-foot bollard fence going across Mt. Celli. Down below in the dry wash there was nothing except the rail fence with not even any concertina wire. Why would anyone build a bollard fence on the hill when it was much easier to walk across in the dry wash below? There are many more areas like this in Campo to the east.
This image shows one of the crews a little further to the east of Tecate working to finish the Campo section of the border fence. There are reportedly several contractors working on the Campo section in order to have it finished by the end of this year.
On the west side of Tecate the fence extends partway up the side of Tecate Peak. The last few hundred yards is a Bush-era, 15-foot-high, bollard fence. Try clicking on the photo and expanding it to find the vehicle of the Border Patrolmen hiding behind a large boulder to the right of the end of the fence, waiting for illegals to cross.
There are no plans as far as I am aware to extend the fence further across Tecate Peak. On the other side, of the Tecate Peak, between it and Otay Mountain, are about 6 miles that are completely open, much of it along the Tijuana river. There is no border barrier at all there. It is going to be the most open part of the California border, after this new fence is totally completed. I am not sure why they are not building there. It could be, because the Tijuana river criss-rosses the border several times in that area. It may be an engineering challenge to build a fence in that area that would withstand flash floods in the riverbed, which are not uncommon.
Next is a video that I made when the work on the new border fence started in this area in the late summer of 2019.
This video by a Mexican reporter for “California Medios” is from 2016. I reused it and subtitled it in English. It shows how easy it was to cross in the middle of Tijuana and the conditions in this area are discussed, such as the kidnapping and extortion of illegal crossers by criminals. It also indicates how the local police feel about it. The reporter says that it takes less than 5 minutes, but in this case the actual crossing of the old border fence took only about 20 seconds for the three of them to cross, one of them very much overweight.
Fifteen miles of 30-foot-high primary bollard fence has been completed in the Yuha desert, just west of Calexico, California. Below is a map of the location, showing the area the fence covers. This area was wide open before the new fence was built.
It seemed to me in the area that the Border Patrol agents have much higher morale now than last year when the area was unsecured and fake refugees were crossing every day by the hundreds. Last year, I often heard agents talk about how soon they could retire. Now, it seems like they feel more empowered to do their job and are much more enthusiastic.
Bollard fence is being built all along the border in California, Arizona and New Mexico. There may be some gaps, if so, I will show it when I find them. In general, though, this new bollard fence is a tremendous improvement over the old fence.
This is panoramic image of the fence on the western side of the Yuha Desert. The fence ends on the left at a ridge at the edge of the Jacumba wilderness. On the far left of the image is part of Signal Mountain, a local landmark across the border in Mexico.
You can click on the panoramic images and expand them with a touch screen for a better view.
Secondary fences may be necessary in some places. The secondary fence is to prevent those who may get past the primary fence from escaping into the brush, before a border patrol agent can apprehend him. It does not have to be as formidable or as expensive and the primary fence. It have been reported that any secondary fences necessary will be constructed in the next phase, if Trump is re-elected.
The fence entirely finished in this area, but at time of this photo was taken, they were still working on the border road as here.
The photo below is taken a little further to the east in the middle of the Yuha Desert looking twoards Mt. Signal. The mountain is named Signal Mountain, as you might guess, because they used to send signals from the top of the mountain. Because they were still working on the border road, I could not get closer to the border here.
This photo shows the new fence as it crosses over the foothills of Mt. Signal.
This photo was taken next to the the All-American irrigation canal looking towards the west at Mt. Signal.
IMAGES OF FORMER OBAMA’S “SECURE” BORDER FENCE
These photos reveal the Obama concept of a secure border fence as implemented earlier. This is the fence in the same area, the Yuha Desert, before the new Trump bollard fence was constructed. Many liberals/leftests said the new 30-foot-high bollard fence was just a minor upgrade of the existing, secure Obama fence. Most of the fence along the border was much like this, if there even was a barrier at all, before the Trump fence was built. The Obama fence was one designed to fail and it served that purpose well.
INITIAL REPORT ON YUHA DESERT
This video is my initial report on the Yuha Desert and surrounding area from July, 2019, before the current bollard fence was started.
This video shows an example of how they used to drive vehicles through the older, existing fence in this area carrying illegal aliens or a load of drugs. The night vision part of video in this clip was recorded by the Border Patrol of El Centro Sector. The new 30-foot bollard fence totally stops vehicles from driving through and greatly reduces the number of illegals crossing on foot.
ILLEGAL-CROSSING WATER STATIONS DISAPPEARING
There used to be 15-18 water stations for illegal aliens that the radical, open-borders organization, Border Angels, put in this area. Most have disappeared, presumably because there are not many illegal crossers in the Yuha Desert any longer. There are still at least 3-4 water stations near the neighboring Jacumba Wilderness, though, where work on a bollard fence has not yet been completed. The new bollard fence will, no doubt, save many lives of those who would otherwise have tried to cross the border illegally.