Photographer Ariana Drehsler teamed up with KQED reporter Julie Small this past Tuesday to go on a ride-along with Theron Francisco, a public affairs officer with the U.S. Border Patrol.
They started early in the morning in Otay Mesa, a community located at the southern edge of San Diego. The tour began at the site of eight border wall prototypes next to the U.S.-Mexico border. Then, Francisco took them to visit Smuggler's Gulch, a section of steep terrain used as a cross-over point for drug smugglers and coyotes.
Their last stop was Friendship Park, a bi-national park that separates San Diego from Tijuana. Drehsler said she noticed people taking selfies and trying to get as close to the fence as possible. "If they got too close, the Border Patrol would let them know," she said.
During the tour, Francisco told Drehsler and Small that his grandmother came from Tijuana when she was a little girl. "It's a reminder that no matter what job you have, we all come from somewhere," said Drehsler.