A year after the election, the Trump administration has yet to persuade Congress (or Mexico) to pay for an estimated $21.6 billion wall along the United States-Mexico border. Though the wall was Trump’s central campaign promise, his nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, told a US Senate committee on Wednesday there is no need to build it.
Last month, the Customs and Border Protection unveiled eight prototypes for the barrier, after House Republicans asked for $10 billion to fund its construction, a proposal that is unlikely to clear the Senate.
Congress did, however, agree to a budget bill in late April that will fund $146 million in upgrades to the existing steel border fencing, which was first installed in the mid-1990s.
For some, the border is not just a divider between the US and Mexico. It’s home.
Reuters visited people in Tijuana, Mexico, who live in a variety of home types, from a small treehouse to a mansion with views of California and the Pacific Ocean, on the border.
Their stories are below.
Steel fencing spans about 654 miles of the 1,933-mile US-Mexico border. Other areas have a “virtual fence,” featuring scanners, guards, and drones.
Carlos Torres, an architect, has lived in a mansion on the Tijuana side for three decades. The fence begins at the end of his garden. He tells Reuters he named his mansion the “First House in Northwest Mexico.”
Torres’ garden is littered with border paraphernalia, including a signpost with arrows that point toward cities in California and Mexico.