We are broadcasting again tonight from the U.S.-Mexican border. Last night, we were at the spot where the border fence hits the Pacific Ocean.
U.S. Border Patrol agents tell us illegal immigrants sometimes try to swim around the fence, or surf around it, or boogie board around it -- just about every possible way you can imagine has been attempted.
As dusk fell last night, a group of Mexicans gathered on the other side of the fence, watching us broadcast, with the bright lights of San Diego shining on the horizon. Perhaps they were just curious, out for an evening stroll. Or perhaps it was something else that drew them to the fence.
We've been returning to the border a lot these last few months, and every time we go, we learn something new about the difficult situation down here.
It's easy for some people to criticize the Border Patrol, but the truth is, they work extremely hard at a somewhat thankless job. No matter how many illegal immigrants they catch and return, others get through, sometimes the same ones they just sent back over the border.
Most Border Patrol agents say they don't focus on that too much, otherwise they would feel like they are not making any progress.
For all the talk of fencing, border security as it exists right now really boils down to these agents, riding in SUVs, on horseback, ATVs, watching with cameras, night-vision equipment, around-the-clock, day-after-day.
Within the last several days, they've discovered two more tunnels underneath the border. "Gopher holes," they call them, because they are not particularly sophisticated tunnels.
We were here several months ago when they discovered "el grande" tunnel -- the 2,400 foot tunnel from a warehouse in Tijuana to a warehouse on the U.S. side. They've blocked that tunnel off now, but the memory of it remains.
To be inside that tunnel was fascinating. We saw the ropes that were used to carry bales of drugs. Examining the walls, we spotted markings made by the diggers.
The big tunnels cost so much to make its doubtful they are used by illegal immigrants, since that wouldn't be cost-effective. Instead, they are typically used to smuggle drugs, according to law enforcement officials. In fact, they found a large amount of marijuana in the 2,400 foot tunnel.
Tonight on the program, we are going to take an in-depth look at the problem of trafficking across the border -- sometimes the "product" being trafficked is drugs or sex; sometimes it is children. We'll also take a closer look at President Bush's visit to the border today.
Speaking of which, I'm curious to hear your thoughts about the immigration debate as it's playing out in Washington, D.C.
Are lawmakers moving in the right direction? Is comprehensive immigration reform possible, all at once? Or do you think they should focus on border security first, and then consider what to do with the illegal immigrants who are already here, hiding in plain sight?