double-sided plastic boundary sign
9 Images

Changes at the border

double-sided plastic boundary sign
A sign remains in place where it once warned off-roaders of the boundary location in the Imperial Sand Dunes of southeastern California. More recently, there’s a 15-foot-high fence to deter illegal immigrants. But arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border have fallen to levels unseen since the 1970s. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Border Patrol agents Laura Boston and Michael Lowry
Border Patrol agents Laura Boston and Michael Lowry inspect the buttresses that hold up the border fence near the Arizona state line. The faltering U.S. economy and better enforcement appear to be keeping more illegal immigrants from attempting to cross the border. It’s a trend that’s most dramatically seen on the border’s busiest corridors for illegal immigrants, which extend through the Mexican state of Sonora to Arizona and California. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Laura Boston
Border Patrol agent Boston scans the U.S.-Mexico borderline above the steel barrier that sits atop California‘s Imperial San Dunes. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Jose Hernandez and Jose Jesus Ramirez
From left, Jose Hernandez, 22, and friend Jose Jesus Ramirez, 21, cling to a utility tower for a look over the U.S.-Mexico border fence. Two additional fences on the U.S. side are hidden by the old grafitti-scarred primary fence. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Jose Jesus Ramirez and Jose Hernandez
Ramirez, left, and Hernandez nervously scan a phalanx of fences that fortify where the boundaries of California, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, meet. A downward trend in arrests of illegal immigrants began at about the same time the U.S. started fortifying the border with more agents, fencing and infrastructure. But border enhancements alone aren’t enough to stop immigrants. The U.S. economy provided further disincentive. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Plaza Benito Juarez
In Plaza Benito Juarez, the central park of this border town, five family members spend a ninth frustrating day in early March trying to determine what to do next. They were jailed for two days by U.S. authorities after being arrested while trying to cross the border. But they are among a dwindling number of illegal immigrants attempting to cross into the U.S. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Santiago Durazo
Santiago Durazo leads a pre-dinner prayer at a Catholic-run shelter for immigrants from eight different states in Mexico. In years past, the shelter was overflowing with people. On this night in early March, there were only 12 men. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Plaza Benito Juarez
In Plaza Benito Juarez, an unidentified man rests on a park bench. He later said he’d been trying to return to the U.S. for work. In years past, this plaza was crowded with Mexicans who wanted to cross into the United States. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
4-wheel-drive truck
A Border Patrol truck churns its way through powdery sand next to the border fence. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)