Nogales business leader believes community hasn’t been as affected by border crisis

Mar 15, 2024, 4:35 AM

The port of entry in Nogales from the United States side of the border. (KTAR News Photo/Felisa Car...

The port of entry in Nogales from the United States side of the border. (KTAR News Photo/Felisa Cardenas)

(KTAR News Photo/Felisa Cardenas)

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a four-part series called “48 Hours on the Border” in conjunction with ABC15 Arizona. Read part one here, part two here and part three here.

NOGALES, Ariz. — Recent migrant surges strained cities and nonprofit organizations across the Southwest border, but a business leader said his city hasn’t been hit as hard as others.

Greg Lucero with the Nogales Chamber of Commerce says his community wasn’t severely impacted. He described Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Mexico, as one community divided by the border and is used to people going back and forth.

“It wasn’t that big of a deal for us. It was present here but it was better organized,” Lucero said. “I think that’s because local government was partnering with Pima County and the city of Tucson so they were providing shuttle services once the migrants were processed here, put on buses and taken to Tucson.”

‘Everybody knows everybody’ in Nogales

Lucero believes the outside world tried to paint Nogales as a lawless, remote area. He thinks it’s for political gain.

The Nogales region is known for processing a majority of produce that comes into the nation from Mexico. In addition, a number of U.S. corporations have set up shop on the Mexican side of the border and ship goods into the U.S.

“This is a safe, very attractive place to be,” Lucero said. “For the most part, people still have their doors open at night. Everybody knows everybody and there’s a sense of safety in the community.”

The migrant pickup process isn’t difficult in Nogales either, according to Lucero. The presence of the Arizona National Guard and and ease in getting processed at Nogales’ port of entry are heavy contributors to that, per Lucero.

“I ran into a few of those [National Guard] guys and asked how things were and if they were seeing a lot of activity and they said no,” Lucero said.

“Why would people go out in the middle of nowhere when they can go to downtown Nogales and get processed? It’s a lot safer and easier.”

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Nogales business leader believes community hasn’t been as affected by border crisis