May 13, 2013
The New York Times, 5/12/2013
Opening a satellite city office in a far-flung neighborhood is not unusual in sprawling cities like this one. But one thing sets apart Mayor Bob Filner’s newest outpost: it is in another country. When he opened San Diego’s Tijuana office this year, Mr. Filner spoke in grand terms about the future of cross-border relations. “Dos ciudades, pero una region — we are two cities, but one region,” he said, using the phrase popular among those who want more collaboration in the area. San Diego would put in a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, he said, but only to host jointly with Tijuana.
For years, this coastal city was widely viewed as a hotbed of illegal immigration. Neighbors traded stories of migrants hiding in their garages and hopping through their backyards. But now the region is considered one of the safest parts of the Mexican border, and the number of apprehensions of people crossing illegally is a tiny fraction of what it was a decade ago. The changes have helped bring an astounding shift in residents’ attitudes toward the border: far from seeing it as a threat, more are embracing it as a potential economic engine for the region. Perhaps one of the most remarkable things about Mr. Filner’s efforts to bolster Tijuana is that there has been no opposition from other politicians or organized protests from conservative critics.
May 1, 2013
The Christian Science Monitor, 4/28/13
Can one summer Olympics be held in two countries? Or in Oklahoma? Those are questions that have surfaced in recent days as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) looks for bid cities to host the 2024 summer Olympics.The USOC has contacted 35 cities as part of a feeling-out process.
Perhaps the most intriguing candidate was San Diego, which has submitted a joint bid with Tijuana, Mexico. USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said the bid “would have its challenges,” according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. “We haven’t looked at it carefully. We just learned about it.” Yet the problems might not be so difficult. No Olympic Games have been shared between two neighboring host countries, but the world of soccer has been dividing is major events between countries for years. South Korea and Japan shared the 2002 World Cup, and the European Championships were held in Austria and Switzerland in 2008 and Poland and Ukraine last year.
April 19, 2013
At the Biblioteca Benito Juárez in Tijuana, Yara Amparo López López, coordinator of the Programa Binacional de Educación del Migrante (PROBEM) in the Mexican border state of Baja California, is presiding over a meeting. It’s her and a bunch of teenagers, speaking Spanish, English, and Spanglish.
For Rosa, whose 10-year-old son doesn’t speak Spanish, the meeting is helpful. Rosa’s kids are two of an estimated 4,000 American citizen children who currently attend school in Tijuana. In the last two years, more than 205,000 parents of American citizen children were deported from the United States. That means a new influx of American kids are now living – and learning – in Mexico.
February 26, 2013
Financial Times, 2/25/2013
Borders are always weird places and few are stranger than the US-Mexico border, the busiest in the world. More than $1bn’s worth of goods cross it every day. Indeed, last year bilateral US-Mexico trade topped $500bn, about the same as total US-European trade – which puts the much vaunted US-European Union free trade deal that Barack Obama has mooted in context.
Not that you would realise the importance of US-Mexican trade in Tijuana, the border’s busiest crossing point. On a recent weekend afternoon, long lines of cars, trucks and pedestrians stretched back into Mexico and its huge maquiladora sector. A near-fiesta of street vendors – selling chewing gum, soft drinks and statuettes of the Virgin of Guadeloupe – did little to relieve the tedium of waiting in the sun among petrol fumes for up to four hours to cross US immigration. (Although it did provide this beyondbrics correspondent with a chance to thumb out a blog on a BlackBerry.)
February 25, 2013
Associated Press, 2/23/2013
Once, the barren mesas and shrub-covered canyons that extend east of the Pacific Ocean held the most popular routes for illegal immigrants heading into the U.S. Dozens at a time sprinted to waiting cars or a trolley stop in San Diego, passing border agents who were too busy herding others to give pause.
Now, 20 years after that onslaught, crossing would mean scaling two fences (one topped with coiled razor wire), passing a phalanx of agents and eluding cameras positioned to capture every incursion. The difference is like “a rocket ship and a horse and buggy,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on a recent tour.
January 28, 2013
The New York Times, 1/26/2013
In November I quit my job as the editor of Wired to run 3D Robotics, the San Diego-based drone company I started with a partner as a side project three years ago. We make autopilot technology and small aircraft — both planes and multirotor copters — that can fly by themselves. The drones, which sell for a few hundred bucks, are for civilians: they don’t shoot anything but photographs and videos. And they’re incredibly fun to build (which we do with the ample help of robots). It wasn’t a hard decision to give up publishing for this.
But my company, like many manufacturers, is faced with a familiar challenge: its main competitors are Chinese companies that have the dual advantages of cheap labor and top-notch engineering. So, naturally, when we were raising a round of investment financing last year, venture capitalists demanded a plausible explanation for how our little start-up could beat its Chinese rivals. The answer was as much a surprise to the investors as it had been to me a few years earlier: Mexico. In particular, Tijuana.
November 30, 2012
UT San Diego, 11/28/2012
Fernando Bosque Mohino is chief executive of Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (GAP), a holding company based in Guadalajara that operates the A.L. Rodríguez International Airport in Tijuana and 11 other airports across Mexico.
Bosque is a key player in the development of a privately owned, cross-border facility to be used exclusively by ticketed airline passengers who pay a toll. Those users would be allowed to cross directly between San Diego and Tijuana through a 525-foot pedestrian bridge linking the Tijuana airport to a 45,000-square-foot terminal in Otay Mesa.
February 7, 2012
Chicago Tribune, 2/7/12
U.S. authorities are building a steel and concrete barrier 300 feet out into the Pacific Ocean south of San Diego to curb dangerous attempts by illegal immigrants and smugglers to slip through the breakers to California.
The new maritime fence is being built at a cost of $4.3 million at the point where the U.S.-Mexico border plunges into the ocean between San Diego and the industrial powerhouse of Tijuana, in northwest Mexico. The new “surf fence” is a steel-and-concrete barrier up to 18 feet tall that replaces a rusted and uneven line of posts.
“It was falling apart, it was out of alignment, it looked like a bad set of teeth,” said Customs and Border Protection spokesman Ralph DeSio.
January 17, 2012
The New York Times, 1/17/2012
Weekday mornings at 5, when the lights on distant hillsides across the border still twinkle in the blackness, Martha, a high school senior, begins her arduous three-hour commute to school. She groggily unlocks the security gate guarded by the family Doberman and waits in the glare of the Pemex filling station for the bus to the border. Her fellow passengers, grown men with their arms folded, jostle her in their sleep.
Martha’s destination, along with dozens of young friends – United States citizens all living in “TJ,” as they affectionately call their city – is a public high school eight miles away in Chula Vista, Calif., where they were born and where they still claim to live.
California teenagers start their mornings with crossing guards and school buses. Martha and her friends stand for hours in a human chain of 16,000 at the world’s busiest international land border. Cellphones in one hand and notebooks in the other, they wait again to cross on foot, fearing delays that could force them to miss a social studies final, oblivious to hawkers selling breakfast burritos or weary parents holding toddlers in pajamas.