America’s southern border is big news. Thanks to President Donald Trump’s signature campaign promise — a wall between the United States and Mexico — and reports of family separations and migrant children imprisoned without soap or blankets, the border has been one of the most talked-about stories of 2019.
In reality, America’s current “border wall” is a series of piecemeal barriers that vary in size, shape and age. Sections of “wall” include low fences; high barriers; dividers with steel slats; and areas with checkpoints and pedestrian passages. Other parts of the border have no structures at all, demarcated instead by rivers or mountains.
Here’s what the U.S.-Mexico border really looks like — both the areas with walls and without.
In this photo, a boy plays at the beach near the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Playas de Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico in June 2019.