November 8, 2017
“We used to call this the soccer field,” says Theron Francisco, a newly appointed public affairs officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
We’re gazing at the gravel road ahead of us and listening to the hum of a mariachi song being carried over the rusted fence where Southern California meets Colonia Libertad. Residents of the latter, an isolated community just east of Tijuana, use music to warn their neighbors that immigration officials are close by.
To our right is a steep canyon, devoid of vegetation and covered in dusty paths that slowly wind up and over the ridge. As I struggle to picture the barren hill being a playground for Mexico’s most popular sport, Francisco blames my age.
Back in the 1980s, dozens of Mexican immigrants would pause in the canyon to kick a ball around after they had illegally entered the United States. Few of them were more worried about border patrol than whether they could slip the ball past the goalie.
“We couldn’t even go on the border because the road was horrible and they would pelt us with rocks on our side,” Mario Villarreal, CBP’s chief patrol agent for the San Diego sector, told the Washington Examiner during a recent trip to California’s southern border.
This article was posted: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 9:25 am