News

Tranquil Arizona-Mexico Border Masks Nogales' Economic Woes

In Nogales, Mexico, the economy has taken a beating, partly due to declining tourism
In Nogales, Mexico, the economy has taken a beating, partly due to declining tourism

As the U.S. Supreme Court takes up Arizona's controversial immigration enforcement law, the violent drug war in Mexico continues, with the death toll over the past six years exceeding 50,000. Supporters of the Arizona law often talk about violence spilling over the border, but there has been very little impact on the U.S. side, where trade and tourism continue in spite of all the bad press. The biggest complaints there have to do with the economy.

A view of tranquility

People who live on the hillside in Nogales, Arizona look out on Mexico every day, and all looks tranquil.

Yet resident Mary Darling-McCune says people she meets in other parts of Arizona think her town is a danger zone. “Oh, they are horrified that I live down here, horrified.”

She believes hundreds of U.S. Border Patrol and other federal agents help to reduce crime, but she says she also feels comfortable going to Nogales, Mexico now and then.

“Even to be able to walk down the hill and cross over into Mexico to have lunch, which we frequently have done," Darling-McCuneI explained. "I do not feel that I am in any grave danger.”

But some of her neighbors are more cautious. Maria Duran, who was born in Mexico and often visits family there, keeps her home on the Arizona side. “I obtained legal residence and I live here very pleasantly. It is safe,” she stated.

This wall, constructed of steel pilings, separates the two cities.

U.S. law enforcement officials say construction of the wall has helped them to control illegal entry and drug trafficking in the town.

Most smuggling now happens in remote desert areas along the border.

But the image conveyed by the wall has had an impact on local people.

Economic woes

On one side of the border, in Nogales, Mexico, the economy has taken a beating because so few Americans are coming over now to make purchases at local pharmacies and stores.

A few years ago, these streets were crowded with American tourists, many of whom came to buy inexpensive medicine.

But pharmacy owner Sylvia says her business is now struggling to survive. “The business has changed a lot, sales are down," she said. "There hasn't been much tourism.”

She blames the economic downturn in the United States and the recent requirement that U.S. citizens crossing the border carry a passport, as well as lurid news reports about violence in Mexico. “Newspapers in the United States say there is a lot of violence in Mexico. This is a lie,” she said.

Although there have been some major crimes related to drug trafficking, she says Nogales is not like other Mexican border towns.

Two-way trade

But while local retailers may be struggling, Nogales plays a part in what amounts to a boom in bi-national trade.

Trains hauling goods to and from Mexico cross the border several times a day, along with hundreds of trucks, representing close to $20 billion in annual two-way trade at Nogales.

And that is just part of the overall $460 billion in overall U.S.-Mexico trade that gives officials in both countries reasons to keep the border orderly and secure.








This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs