NOGALES, ARIZONA — On Wednesday night, Mayor Arturo Garino and all six City Council members unanimously voted to condemn the concertina wire installed by the federal government on the fence between Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora.
The vote came immediately after Mayor Garino announced that a delegation from the city had reached out to local Border Patrol officials only to be disrespected and to have their concerns dismissed, according to his remarks on Wednesday night.
“I got up and walked out,” Garino said.
The resolution not only condemns the concertina wire but also demands that it be removed.
Prior to the vote, audible disapproval for the federal government’s could be heard from the audience as the resolution was being read by Deputy City Manager John Kissinger. Gasps rang out as Kissinger described the horrifying effects of concertina wire on people.
“The first phase of this is an official statement from the city, followed by letters being sent to the proper government officials, including Senator Martha McSally and Governor Doug Ducey. The final step, and I hope it doesn’t come to this, is legal action, a lawsuit against the federal government,” Kissinger said.
“Its not safe,” he added. “Kids play there. Their pets play there. They walk home from school by there.”
This was in reference to several locations of border that are right up against houses in certain Nogales neighborhoods.
“This isn’t like Texas, or New Mexico,” Cathy Garino, wife of Mayor Garino, said in response to negative comments on Facebook. “We aren’t miles away from the border. It’s right in our city—right in the middle of it.”
The wire in question was initially installed late in 2018 as part of Donald Trump’s deployment of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. The military began stringing up the wire and welding spikes to the existing fence without any consultation with the city of Nogales or its citizens. In spite of public outcry condemning the wire, the military returned in early February to install more of it. This was done again without consulting city officials.
The Associated Press reported on Thursday morning that “U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Defense did not respond to inquiries about why additional wire was installed last weekend.”
The installation of additional wire and the vote to have it condemned come only days before
the cities of Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora (know collectively as Ambos Nogales) are set to reaffirm their sisterhood agreement—a symbolic gesture to highlight the infallible relationship as one city split between two nations.
“We are one city,” Mayor Garino said. “One city of 400,000 people cut in half by a fence.”
The sisterhood agreement is set to be signed on Thursday afternoon at the Mexican consulate in Nogales, Arizona.
Mayor Garino is scheduled to discuss the issue this Friday during a live broadcast at 4pm local time on the Facebook page @welovenogales.
UPDATE, February 7, 1pmET: CBP issued the following statement about Nogales:
Joseph Paul Wright is a freelancer journalist based in Nogales, Arizona. He tweets from @joewrightwrites.