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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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9/23/2013 6:02:00 AM
Give Mexicans more access to AZ? Local agency says no
Cindy Barks
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - A Maricopa County Association of Governments spokesman had no luck last week convincing Prescott-area officials that Mexican tourists and business people should have greater access to Arizona.

Dennis Smith, executive director of the Maricopa Association of Governments, appeared before the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization (CYMPO) Wednesday night to pitch a resolution of support for extending the border zone in Arizona.

The resolution pushes for making the entire state a "border zone," which would allow Mexicans who have been vetted and hold a Border Crossing Card to visit areas within the zone for as long as 30 days.

Such a move would be a boon to the economy, Smith said, because it would tap into Mexican's growing middle class, allowing for more tourism and commerce.

Currently, the border zone is restricted to 25 miles beyond the border in some areas, and 75 miles if entering through selected Arizona ports.

CYMPO, which includes representatives from Yavapai County and area municipalities, roundly rejected the idea.

"I think we haven't addressed securing the border yet," Prescott City Councilman Chris Kuknyo said in response to Smith's presentation.

"To do this without securing the border, I think we've got a big problem."

Kuknyo suggested that expansion of the zone could increase the risk of illegal immigration and drug trafficking.

"I worry that this would make it easier," Kuknyo said, adding, "I know we vet people, but I think the cartels are way ahead of us."

Yavapai County Supervisor Craig Brown also expressed strong concerns about the proposal.

"We have 65,000 people a day coming across the border," Brown said, referring to Smith's figures. "How do we get them to go back?"

Brown maintained that expanding the border zone could exacerbate an existing problem with undocumented residents.

"How are we going to enforce this?" he asked. "We can't enforce the laws we have now. What makes us think we're going to enforce this?"

Smith pointed out that neighboring states are already benefiting economically from broader border zones. After researching what states such as Texas, New Mexico, and Utah are doing, Smith said, "We found out that other states are way ahead of us, particularly Texas."

In response to Kuknyo's comments, Smith said, "We're not getting our fair share. The problem with Arizona is we're not taking a shot. We're kind of frozen right now."

Along with extending the border zone, Smith pushed for streamlining border crossings by adding more border protection agents.

Currently, he said, Arizona ports such as Nogales have much longer wait times than those in Texas and California.

"Texas has figured this out," Smith said. "They're working the border really hard."

Chino Valley Vice Mayor Darryl Croft, the chairman of CYMPO, agreed that "there is certainly a lot of income in Mexico."

Ultimately, though, the proposed resolution died for lack of a motion.

After the meeting, CYMPO Administrator Chris Bridges said the issue went before CYMPO because the organization offers a venue where all of the area governments are "in a room at one time."

He added that the border zone issue "is linked to the economy, which ties directly to transportation." (Although some regional planning agencies in the state deal with broader topics, CYMPO is limited mainly to transportation).

Smith said he had previously taken the resolution to the Yuma Metropolitan Planning Organization, which had given its support.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter: @Cindy_Barks.

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Article comment by: LOL at your hate

It's funny to read your guys' comments on here. So filled with resentment, hate, racism, and above all, ignorance.

Progress waits for no one though, and open-minded, not-afraid people like me are coming to live here more and more. The tide's turning and pretty soon y'all haters will die off.

So yeah, your mindsets are petty and hurtful, but it will not stay that way for long.

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Article comment by: George W. Hayduke III

This Eur-Asian descendant of the tribes that crossed Beringia to Alaska, thinks all you Europeans are Anchor Babies. And whiny Anchor Babies at that!. Come to think of it though, my ancestors that peopled this continent are also Anchor Babies! But at least we don't delude ourselves with the mythological "history" written by the "victors". But you did not defeat us, your Guns, Germs and Steel defeated us. Down, but not out. We are all related you whiny suburbanites.

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Article comment by: Ex Patriot

@ cali hater: A great many of Mexico's current problems are a direct result of the US drug war. Yes, there are political reasons for the poverty, but there's no way a nation can stabilize while it's in a constant state of war. That's the whole point of the drug war, isn't it? And it's our own government that keeps the war going. That great hideous thing being built on the border is like throwing a firebomb into your neighbors' yard and then shooting them as they try to escape. And I'd like to know (or maybe I wouldn't) how you would have proposed to keep Californians out. You, know, since they're Americans and all. I grew up here, so I well understand the resentment that small-towners have toward newcomers -- I remember telling a friend that if I heard someone from Iowa say, "back home" one more time I'd scream. But I got over it. You can, too.

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Article comment by: Best Reasoning

Other cultures are not a problem. What is necessary is an orderly process of legal documentation, that is equally reciprocated in the other countries. Also that we don’t unintentionally set ourselves up as a State to have disabilities at the Federal level by being defined as a border zone.

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Article comment by: Tongue-in-Cheek .

Hey Jen g. I guess I forgot a little period of history. Who did you say the Mexicans took the land from when they claimed it? Also, why did they call it the Gadsden "Purchase" if we bad Americans JUST TOOK that strip of land from Mexico.
I guess I really don't own my house because someone else occupied it before me. 100% of all land in the entire world ONCE BELONGED TO SOMEONE ELSE.

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Article comment by: R Facts

@ Jen G, bad news, this was never Mexican territory. The Indian's had kicked them out hundreds of years ago. Also nobody who is born in the US is being kicked out, you might also want to look up the term "Illegal" sometime.

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Article comment by: Xenophobia Capitol of Arizona

is Yavapai County.

Too bad all the rehabs can't deal with that.

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Article comment by: janeth garcia

Calm down calm down.... . U are just scared?U all don't want Mexican s here because they take all ur money and jobs because u are all lazy and, all Mexican s are not criminal s if u read the paper u got all these white Raper s cumitting crimes what??? Is that normal duh...

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: Cory Sa

@ Jen g we (the US) did not take anything from mexico

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: JM S

Like Cuba, we would only get the scum of Mexico. Don't we have enough crime and violence now?

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: Arlen Ness

The business people would like more cheap labor.

That, of course, would not improve the employment situation for our already stresses local job-seekers.

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: Jen g

I guess all us white folk are forgetting that this used to be mexico! We took it from them! So quit whining not just any mexican can get a,border crosser card and at least you would have a way to identify those that commit crimes. Californians,minnasotans etc.. Go home and stop coming here trying to take over and kick people born and raised here out and quit trying to take over. If you dont like mexicans dont move into a state by the border.

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: Peace Nik

The point that escapes me is how this is not presented EVER as a Moral issue. Here we sit sit as a bastion of Morality, Conservatism and Christianity yet seem to feast on Hate, Racism and Fear. My God is one of compassion, love, tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness. If he weren't, I would be in deep trouble. We seem to be spiritually sick and Politically blind. If Jesus came back wearing a robe and sandals, we would likely crucify him again, especially in this town.

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: M Soldier

You libs love giving my country away. We are on the verge of a financial collapse and you say let more arrive for the dole. LOL

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: the wino

C.B.S. NEWS reported this A.M. that 1.1 million un-documented illegals have entered the UNITED STATES of AMERICA in this current year!

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: Indio Apache

The story is unbelievable. Councilman Kuykno has oversight over the City's failing and sedentary tourism efforts, not to mention its non existent economic development results.

It seems the only economic success story in either realm is the feebly addressed group home phenomena, which means that the only thing the COP has going right, is some success in attracting tourists with tracks in their arm.

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: Semper Veritas

@Pathetic....if you are going to claim to be from an "educated p[lace", perhaps your grammer should exemplify someone who received an education in that place.
Secondly, if you checked the statistics for tourism in Arizona, all of the factors related to tourism (flights into Sky Harbor, hotel vacancy rates, hotel be tax revenues, car rentals etc...) are at least on par with the rest of the Nation and certainly higher than many other areas. Since the crash of '08, when all tourism dried-up, Arizona has seen a steady increase in tourism at approximately the same rate of increase with the National average.
Regarding "We appear to live in a disgusting, backwater pocket of white supremacy. And are the laughing stock of the rest of the United States. Or most of them". The Yavapai County growth rate was over twice that of the oh so tolerant Pima County with the wonderful city of Tucson as it's shining halmark and is light years ahead of the magnicicent urban mecca's of Detroit, Philly, Chicago, etc...

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Captain Howdy- That's because it is not about legality. It is about race, and it always has been.

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: Your right... Prescott has nothing to offer!! !!

I hate to pop your bubble... But Prescott has nothing on a bunch of Mexican towns.

How about a 9 mile beach in Kino Bay. The old streets of Guanajuato with some real history. The Mayan town of Tulum with gorgeous water and beautiful white beaches.

Then there is Villahermosa which is one happening place.and has history that will take your breadth away. The temple of the sun and moon (Teotihuachan) which are at 7K and make the egyptian pyramids small. All safer than Prescott and PV. Look it up if you don't believe me.

Good luck in your arrogance. So much for a sister town in MX. LOL

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Article comment by: @ cali hater

Really loved the last line of your comment. I’d suggest you spend a night in Inglewood or Watts if you want to experience real crime. You likely would not last five minutes.

I find it somewhat ironic how often “locals” are so quick to condemn anyone who relocated from California. What does it take for a new resident to be considered a Prescottonian?

These comments usually revolve around outsiders being whiners or trying to impose their ways on the existing population. I wonder how many of these locals can trace their ancestors to the original founding fathers of Prescott. If they cannot, then they or their ancestors were at one time outsiders. Perhaps when they or their ancestors arrived they too brought new ideas to the community or raised questions about the status quo. I wonder what the indigenous people of this area first thought when new settlers relocated here and started introducing their new ideas and ways.

Buggy makers once decried the introduction of the automobile. Perhaps these local traditionalist should reject anything new or innovative since they seem to be anti everything.

Like it or not metaphorically, the only thing that stays the same...is change.

Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Tourists? Business people?

No problem.


Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013
Article comment by: b. fuddled

How do they get to Utah? Last time I saw a U.S. map Utah wasn't a border state. The article doesn't state that California has this type of program just that their border crossings are faster. They would have to get across Nevada or if they came up though New Mexico do they jump across at four corners? Because no roads cross right at that point.

Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013
Article comment by: Pathetic. Backward. Living in the nineteenth century. Poor Provincial Prescott.

Coming from an educated, globally aware, melting pot, forward thinking p[lace (there are a lot of them) ... can't believe some of these hateful, racist comments. The tea party splitting & destroying the already weak Republican Party. The local pols incredibly following in the footsteps of the ugly Blair - Hanna mentality. Racially biased against blacks and hispanics. Call them names. Took down the Census Bureau banner 'cause it was in Spanish. We appear to live in a disgusting, backwater pocket of white supremacy. And are the laughing stock of the rest of the United States. Or most of them. No wonder our tourist business and economy are in the dumps.

Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013
Article comment by: cali hater

Mexico has serious crime and social problems.

Why would we want them here?

I know why...........because they would spend money.

That logic is how we ended up with all those terrible people from California here. They brought all of California's crime and social problems here.

Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013
Article comment by: john treguboff

I stopped being afraid of the dark as of puberty

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