Dying for the American Dream

Journalist Mariana van Zeller and chef Michael Voltaggio drive to the US-Mexico border to see a conflict that exists in our own backyard: immigration. Mariana and Michael talk to men who search for illegal immigrants and hear stories of migrants trying to cross the border.

From This Episode

Welcome to Nogales, Arizona

Welcome to Nogales, Arizona

Michael Voltaggio and Mariana van Zeller pose for the camera in Nogales, AZ, just a few minutes from the Arizona-Mexico border and Heroica Nogales, Mexico. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

Lunch at Chuyitos food truck

Lunch at Chuyitos food truck

Michael and Mariana dig in to the famous Sonoran hot dog at the Chuyitos food truck. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

Sightseeing Along the US-Mexico Border

Sightseeing Along the US-Mexico Border

Michael and Mariana walk alongside a graffitied wall near the border. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

In Honor of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez

In Honor of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez

A large mural of a young Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez on horseback hangs on the wall in Nogales, Mexico. The 16-year-old boy was killed by US Border Patrol in 2012.  960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

Moment of Reflection

Moment of Reflection

Michael and Mariana reflect on what they’ve learned so far along the US-Mexico border. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

La Posada Restaurant

La Posada Restaurant

Outside La Posada Restaurant in Nogales, Mexico, which has been serving authentic Mexican food to the community for more than 50 years. Related Video: Mexico's Cuisine 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

Owner of La Posada Restaurant

Owner of La Posada Restaurant

Michael and Mariana speak with the owner of La Posada Restaurant. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

Interview with Peg Bowden

Interview with Peg Bowden

Michael and Mariana speak with Peg Bowden, a volunteer at El Comedor immigrant center in Nogales, Mexico. Peg lives in Arizona, 12 miles from the Mexican border. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

El Comedor Immigrant Center

El Comedor Immigrant Center

Migrants are given a meal, clean clothes and shoes at El Comedor immigrant center. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

Border Patrol's Minuteman

Border Patrol's Minuteman

Mariana and Michael speak with Robert Crooks, a Minuteman, in the Sonoran Desert near Casa Grande, AZ. Minutemen are unofficial US-Mexico border patrols. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

Visiting the US-Mexico Border

Visiting the US-Mexico Border

Mariana and Michael converse after meeting with Robert Crooks. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

Walking J Farm

Walking J Farm

Mariana and Michael visit Walking J Farm, which is known for its organic vegetables. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

Jim Chilton's Open Ranch

Jim Chilton's Open Ranch

Mariana speaks with Arizona rancher Jim Chilton, whose ranch borders Mexico but has no fences or walls marking the boundary. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

Dinner Prep

Dinner Prep

Michael prepares vegetables in the kitchen of Hacienda Corona de Guevavi, the site of the dinner between opposing sides of the immigration debate on the US-Mexico border. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

What's for dinner, Michael?

What's for dinner, Michael?

One of Michael's dishes for the dinner: chicken with yellow-tomato enchilada sauce. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

On the Menu

On the Menu

Michael prepared an array of dishes for the dinner, including radish and carrot salad with carrot-top dressing; beef-tongue fajitas with onions, peppers, coriander and lime; Caesar salad; "flower" tortillas (corn tortillas stuffed with flowers); sweet potato gratin, made with sweet potatoes, Cotija cheese, chili and cream; roast pork shoulder with soy-mustard-butter sauce; and finally, pig ear and fennel salad. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

Cheers!

Cheers!

Michael and Mariana share a toast with their dinner guests, who are on opposing sides of the immigration debate, at Hacienda Corona de Guevavi. 960 1280

Ed Kashi/VII  

A classic car and a Sonoran hotdog food truck called Chuyitos
Chevy 1955 Bel Air and Sonoran Hot Dogs

Chevy 1955 Bel Air and Sonoran Hot Dogs

Michael (Voltaggio) is obsessed with classic American cars. In fact, he owns this exact same model — a Chevy 1955 Bel Air. He wanted to drive it down to Arizona, but since we had to make sure he actually arrived in time for the shoot, we decided to rent one instead. Our first stop was a truck that sells the famous Sonoran hot dogs, which Michael insisted we eat several feet away from the car so as not to get it dirty.  That whole morning, I felt like we'd been transported 60 years back in time! 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

US-Mexico $2 Billion Border Fence

US-Mexico $2 Billion Border Fence

I've been reporting on border and immigration issues for years, but this was the first time I got to see the $2 billion border fence from above. Border Patrol says it's been effective in preventing the movement of illegal goods and people from Mexico into the US, but opponents call it a boondoggle. They say that all it does is drive immigrants to more dangerous (fenceless) terrain, which means more deaths along the border for those pursuing a better life for themselves and their families. 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

649-Mile Fence

649-Mile Fence

The brown line you see is part of the 649-mile fence. Since it's not a continuous fence, it covers less than a third of the 1,954-mile US-Mexican border.   960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

The Border From Above

The Border From Above

Flying over the US-Mexican border on a 4-seat Cessna. I look calm and collected, but this is where I learned that having a chef as the co-pilot is never a good idea. You can't be good at everything, Voltaggio! 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

View From the Other Side

View From the Other Side

This photo was taken in Nogales, AZ. On the other side of the 18-foot fence is Nogales, Sonora, in Mexico. I've been here on reporting trips before, but the sheer size of the fence never ceases to surprise me.     960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

'Breaking Bad'?

'Breaking Bad'?

It ain't Breaking Bad; it's Breaking Borders. Oh, and it airs every Sunday at 9|8c on Travel Channel. 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

Michael Voltaggio, Excited for Cuisine & Compliments

Michael Voltaggio, Excited for Cuisine & Compliments

Michael is excited to try authentic Mexican food in Nogales, Sonora. Or perhaps it's because a 70-year-old Mexican lady just said, "Qué gringo más guapo!" (“What a handsome gringo!”)   960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

Bottoms Up!

Bottoms Up!

Yes, they were all for me — 10 shots of pure gold. What happens in the field stays in the field. 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

Mountain Minutemen

Mountain Minutemen

In Arizona, we spent a few hours one night with members of the Mountain Minutemen, a group of armed men and women who camp out in the desert, hunting for illegal border crossers. This man asked us not to show his face or reveal his identity, but the leader of the group, Robert Crooks, was one of our dinner guests on the episode. 960 1280

Mariana van Zeller  

View Full TV Schedule

On TV

Planet Primetime

From Sheik to Chic

8am | 7c

Burger Land

Old Miss Burgers

9:30amam | 8:30amc

The Hot List

Explore America’s most stunning scenery.
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Stay updated on the latest travel tips and trends.
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.