Beyond the Border: News 8 takes an in-depth look at life where the U.S. and Mexico meet
Watch the complete week long series, including reports on crime, health, immigration and other aspects of border life.
Author: Michelle Watson, Digital Content Manager
Published: 2:54 PM PDT May 16, 2019
Updated: 6:25 PM PDT May 24, 2019

TIJUANA, Baja California — News 8 decided go head across the border to take a closer look at issues surrounding the divide. A controversial topic nationwide directly impacts those living in San Diego as this five-part series shows.

Less than one hour away for most San Diegans, the border is not an unfamiliar place with many crossing for vacation, family visits, business purposes or other reasons.

Below are excerpts from our special Beyond the Border reports, including the complete video reports from each topic.


Beyond the Border: News 8 takes an in-depth look at life where the U.S. and Mexico meet

Chapter 1

Asylum Seekers

The battle to gain legal entry into the U.S.

Hundreds of families from all over the world are jam-packed into Tijuana shelters as they hope for a chance at the American dream. They’re waiting for their names to be called so they can cross legally into the United States and claim asylum.

Each morning in Tijuana, migrant volunteers set up a tent at the El Chaparral Pedwest crossing on the Mexican side of the border. The volunteers - as best we can tell - are Mexican nationals hoping to shorten their wait to request asylum in the United States. They oversee a mysterious notebook that contains the names of everyone who wants to have their case heard. The notebook is, in effect, a waiting list for asylum.

- David Gotfredson, Investigative Producer

RELATED: Beyond the Border: Asylum seekers wait in Tijuana shelters, cross into USA

Chapter 2

Tijuana Police Ride-Along

On the streets of TJ

As the sun was setting in Tijuana, we followed a set of GPS coordinates to a nondescript parking garage guarded by a heavily armed officer. He waved us in after a brief discussion and we met Officer Jorge Garcia Palomo with the Tijuana Municipal Police Department, who would be our guide for the evening.

Palomo is an 11-year veteran of the force and oversees about 80 officers who work in Zona Rio, a modern and touristy area of Tijuana. He has an eye for detail and told us we had to go back to the garage before we resumed patrol because his pickup was missing a hubcap. I sat in the backseat for the ride-along, often bouncing around as Palomo navigated the pothole-laden streets.

One report named Tijuana “the most dangerous city in the world,” citing its notoriously high homicide rate. Mexico’s statistics show 2,246 people were intentionally killed last year in Tijuana, accounting for 7% of all homicides nationwide and more than double than the city Juarez, which had the second most homicides in Mexico. Researchers at the University of San Diego attribute the increase in homicides mostly to cartel violence.

- Brandon Lewis, Reporter

RELATED: Beyond the Border: News 8 takes ride-along with Tijuana Police

Chapter 3

Pets Across The Border

Treating your dog for less money

Not everything having to do with the Mexican border is political in nature. News 8’s John Howard took a trip beyond the border to see how San Diego County residents are crossing into Mexico to save money on veterinarian care.

It’s a quick drive across the border with John’s dog Tiki in the back seat.

We soon arrived at the Tijuana offices of Dr. Jose Carlos, aka Dr. Zoo.

Dr. Jose Carlos said, “The Americans are looking for cheaper prices but also quality of service. If you don't give quality service, the Americans don't come back again” 

- David Gotfredson, Investigative Producer

RELATED: Beyond the Border: Americans save money on pet care in Tijuana

Chapter 4

U.S. Citizen in Tijuana

Family in Tijuana asking for help to immigrate in the U.S.

A U.S. citizen living in a Tijuana with his wife and three children is asking for help.

The family is trying to immigrate into the United States legally.  But the financial burden and a mountain of government red tape is keeping them trapped in Mexico, beyond the border.

Phillip Caldwell, his wife Dulce Rosario-Rojas, and their three children currently are living in a tent in Tijuana.

 “I’m a U.S. citizen, born and raised in Alabama and Georgia,” said Caldwell, 40, during an interview from a Tijuana shelter, where he has been living with his family for the past month.

Thirteen years ago, Caldwell fell in love with Dulce when she was living in the United States as an undocumented migrant.

She was arrested and deported in 2008, so Phillip followed her back to Chiapas, Mexico.

They got married in Mexico and gave birth to Jayda, 9, Kayden, 6, and Sweet, their youngest at age 20 months. 

- David Gotfredson, Investigative Producer

RELATED: Beyond the Border: US citizen in Tijuana faces long wait for American dream

Chapter 5

Prescriptions across the border

Americans find lower prices on prescription drugs in Tijuana

Prescription drug prices in the United States are among the highest in the world. Frequently, the same drugs can cost less in Mexico.

News 8 traveled beyond the border with a hidden camera to check out pharmacies in Tijuana.

Before we crossed the border, we contacted several Tijuana pharmacies to request on-camera interviews.  They did not respond.

- David Gotfredson, Investigative Producer

RELATED: Beyond the Border: Americans find lower prices on prescription drugs in Tijuana

Chapter 6

US Citizen in Tijuana Update

San Diegans step up to help US citizen's family in Tijuana

There's been an outpouring of support for a U.S. citizen living with his wife and three children in a Tijuana shelter. The family appeared last week in a News 8 special report, "Beyond the Border: US citizen in Tijuana faces long wait for American dream."

Phillip Caldwell said got the news Tuesday that the community had donated more than $1,500 to support his family’s efforts to live in the United States.

“Thank you everybody from San Diego and anyone who has helped us.  My family and I very much appreciated it and we're very thankful,” said Caldwell.

The 40-year-old father and his three kids are all U.S. citizens, even though the children were born in Mexico. The family has lived for the past decade in Chiapas, Mexico. They left one month ago for safety reasons and migrated to Tijuana.

- David Gotfredson, Investigative Producer

RELATED: San Diego community steps up to help US citizen’s family in Tijuana