A small border town in Arizona declared a public relations war on the Trump administration Wednesday, demanding the feds cut down miles of razor wire that have been attached to the border wall in recent weeks to try to increase security ahead of the migrant caravans.
Nogales, a border-crossing town of about 20,000 people south of Tucson, says its main street has been turned into a “war zone” by the federal government’s buildup.
The city council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that not only demands the “lethal” razor wire be pulled down, and the mayor said he’s going to pursue a lawsuit to try to force the feds to comply with the city’s demands.
“We’re not going to allow this in Nogales,” Mayor Arturo R. Garino said.
He said he had met earlier in the day with Border Patrol officials who told him the razor wire was needed to stop “rapists, murderers and child molesters” who come over the border fence. The mayor said he doesn’t believe that’s true, and he ordered city officials to file public records requests to try to get data on what’s really going on.
The Trump administration has laid dozens of miles of concertina wire on strategic points along the 1,954-mile long U.S.-Mexico border to try to stiffen what it seems porous spots. The coiled wire is usually used in conjunction with fencing already on the border. The combination makes it tougher for migrants to climb the fence, since coming down on the U.S. side could land them in the razor wire.
The Pentagon over the weekend said it was deploying an additional 3,750 active-duty troops to the border with one of their key duties to be laying 150 more miles of concertina wire.
Some 70 miles were laid last year, when President Trump first deployed the military to prepare for the arrival of migrant caravans.
In Nogales, coils have been laid from the bottom to the top of the U.S. side of the 18-foot wall, creating an imposing barrier.
But city officials feared it was just as dangerous to Americans as it would be to migrants attempting to jump over.
“Kids are playing there, they kick balls, they go with their pets out there,” Mr. Garino said.
The vote to protest the concertina wire was popular with city residents who sat for Wednesday’s city council meeting.
One man suggested the council pay for ads in national newspapers of photos of the border wall with the caption “Mr. Trump, please take down this wall” — presumably a reference to President Reagan’s call to the Soviet leadership from Berlin to “tear down this wall.”
“It’s just beyond disgusting,” the man said of the razor wire.
Nogales is not only the name of the city on the U.S. side, but also the much larger city on the Mexican side.
The American city’s economy is based on the cross-border traffic, and the shops on the main street cater to Mexican day-shoppers.
City officials said they like to think of the region as one community of 400,000 people, divided b a fence.
The council, however, did not call for taking down the border wall that currently separates the American and Mexican sides.
Indeed, council members insisted that what exists at least in some places is a full wall, exactly the type that Mr. Trump would build should he win more money for construction from Congress.
That undercuts the claims of some Democrats in Washington, who have said walls are immoral and have vowed to resist any money to construct them.
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