While some communities might be thrilled with the U.S. Army draping dangerous, unsightly, and what they view as unnecessary concertina wire throughout town, the residents of Nogales, Arizona, are not. On Wednesday night, the Nogales City Council passed a resolution condemning the installation of rows of razor wire along the border fence downtown as "not only irresponsible but inhuman," arguing that such wire "is only found in a war, prison, or battle setting," and asking the federal government to remove all concertina wire from within city limits. If not, Mayor Arturo Garino says, Nogales will sue.
Nogales, a town of 20,000, is reliant on trade with its much larger sister city of Nogales, Mexico, right across the border. "That wire is lethal, and I really don’t know what they’re thinking by putting it all the way down to the ground," Garino told Nogales International on Monday. On Wednesday, he told The Associated Press: "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."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said extra wire was added last weekend after a request "for additional support in high-risk urban areas commonly exploited by criminal smuggling organizations" — it did not say who made that request — and that "signage in Spanish and English has been put in place warning individuals of these dangers and prohibiting access." On Tuesday night, President Trump claimed there was a "tremendous onslaught" on America's "lawless" border, specifically mentioning El Paso, Texas — which was among the safest U.S. cities even before border fencing was installed a decade ago.
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The concertina wire is just "more stunts from Trump administration trying to create the perception of rampant lawlessness and crime, but Nogales residents aren't buying it," Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) tweeted Tuesday. "The only 'crisis' at the border is the humanitarian one created by his disastrous policies."
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