Border wall splits southwest town of Jacumba

Posted at 6:50 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-15 21:50:43-04

An hour East of San Diego is a small town, many now call a ghost town.

It wasn't always this way.

Back in the 1920's and 30's, Jacumba was a Hollywood hot spot. Locals say WC Fields, Louise Brooks, Clark Gable, even President Roosevelt, all used to come here for the natural hot springs that flow from deep in the earth. It was also the furthest many cars coming from Los Angeles could make it back then.

The Jacumba public library still has pictures of the old days, including the grand hotel that eventually burned to the ground, never to be rebuilt again.  Boarded up buildings and broken windows are all that's left of some of the local businesses. Interstate 8 bypassed this town, the old dairy that employed many on both sides of the US - Mexico border closed down and many locals moved on long ago.

Those who are left, remember the other blow this small border town just couldn't recover from, the extension of the border fence from one edge of town to the other.

They say it changed the character of this community, brought in professional smugglers and the feared Sinaloa Cartel.

Border patrol agents are a big presence here. They sit on virtually every hilltop and their trucks are a common sight on the roads in and around Jacumba. Apprehensions of illegal border crossers in this sector are up 33 % compared to last year.

While, some locals question the impact the extended fencing has had on Jacumba and the neighboring Mexican town of Jacume, even critics say it's too late to go back to the way this town was before. Too much has changed and they accept the border now runs through here.