On Wednesday night, the City Council of Nogales, AZ, passed a resolution demanding that the federal government remove all razor wire within the city’s limits, the AP reports. The border city’s condemnation of these extreme measures comes after additional layers of concertina wire were put up by Army troops over the weekend. The concertina now envelopes the entire border wall through Nogales’ downtown area. Some houses are mere feet away from the wall, as the city’s downtown is residential as well.
The resolution decries the wire because it “is only found in a war, prison or battle setting,” and could injure or kill anyone attempting to climb the wall. Unless the federal government steps in and takes down the concertina, Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino says the city will sue. Garino expressed concerns about children’s safety now that the razor wire reaches the ground.
“Aesthetically pleasing—it’s not. It’s very bad. It’s not good for business, it’s not good for what we’re trying to create, a business-friendly community here in Nogales,” Garino explained to the AP.
“Business-friendly” is the key word here. Economically, Nogales depends on Mexican consumers and trade across the border. The razor wire poses both a physical threat to residents and a fiscal threat to local trade.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a statement claiming the new wire was installed due to a request “for additional support in high-risk urban areas commonly exploited by criminal smuggling organizations.” However, they did not clarify who made the request (and it should be noted that illegal crossings have sharply declined in the area as of late).
A CBP spokesperson said new wire is being added to parts of the wall that fall outside city limits and that in areas with high foot traffic, concertina is confined to the upper section of the wall. The statement added, “Signage in Spanish and English has been put in place warning individuals of these dangers and prohibiting access.”
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D.—Ariz.) criticized the use of the razor wire as “more stunts” from Trump and his ilk:
More stunts from Trump Administration trying to create the perception of rampant lawlessness and crime, but Nogales residents aren’t buying it. The only ‘crisis’ at the border is the humanitarian one created by his disastrous policies. https://t.co/xAc0RqtwM3— Raul M. Grijalva (@RepRaulGrijalva) February 5, 2019