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Cross-border commuters

Farmworker Elias Solis, of Mexicali, Mexico, picks cabbage before dawn in a field outside of Calexico, Calif., March 6, 2018. (Photo: Gregory Bull/AP)

From Mexicali to Calexico: Cross-border commuters

The daily commute from Mexico to California farms is the same as it was before Donald Trump became president. Hundreds of Mexicans cross the border and line the sidewalks of Calexico’s tiny downtown by 4 a.m., napping on cardboard sheets and blankets or sipping coffee from a 24-hour doughnut shop until buses leave for the fields.

For decades, cross-border commuters have picked lettuce, carrots, broccoli, onions, cauliflower and other vegetables that make California’s Imperial Valley “America’s Salad Bowl” from December through March. As Trump visits the border Tuesday, the harvest is a reminder of how little has changed despite heated immigration rhetoric in Washington.

Trump will inspect eight prototypes for a future 30-foot border wall that were built in San Diego last fall. He made a “big, beautiful wall” a centerpiece of his campaign and said Mexico would pay for it.

But border barriers extend the same 654 miles (1,046 kilometers) they did under President Barack Obama and so far Trump hasn’t gotten Mexico or Congress to pay for a new wall. (AP)

Photography by  Gregory Bull/AP

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