Here’s what KTAR News learned from ’48 Hours on the Border’ immigration series

Mar 15, 2024, 2:00 PM | Updated: 2:56 pm

PHOENIX — KTAR News, in conjunction with ABC15 Arizona, spent the last week examining the economic, social and political issues surrounding immigration.

Reporters visited border towns in southern Arizona, where they spoke to residents and leaders about what’s actually happening in their communities as the border crisis continues.

Here’s what we learned from the “48 Hours on the Border” series:

Arizona rancher frustrated as southern border crisis continues with no end in sight

Jim Chilton is a fifth-generation rancher who has called Arivaca, an unincorporated community in Pima County with less than 1,000 residents, home since 1987.

His sprawling 50,000-acre ranch, where he lives with his wife Sue, bumps up against the Mexican border for about 5 miles.

Chilton estimates at least 35 migrants have died on his ranch over the past few years. Many more have ended up at Chilton’s house, where he’s given out food and water.

The southern border crisis, in Chilton’s eyes, has worsened in recent times, with no end in sight.

Arizona border community empathetic but growing tired of migrant crisis

Cochise County Supervisor Ann English has lived on a ranch 5 miles north of the Arizona border community of Douglas for nearly 60 years.

She believes her city is empathetic and concerned as migrants pour over the border, but frustration is growing.

Drug problems, highlighted by cartel influence, underscore rising border crossings.

Arizona border city of Douglas grappling with new reality as hub of immigration crisis

Driving down G Avenue in Douglas, it’s hard to imagine the area has experienced some of the highest levels of migrant crossings in the nation.

It’s a quiet border city where residents said not much happens and elderly couples walk hand-in-hand down a historic downtown strip where buildings from Arizona’s past stand tall and proud.

In a main city park, children play and shop at food trucks. Restaurants are packed with local families and friends, many fixed on talks of faith and religion. The historic Gadsden Hotel downtown is empty and old but contains lifetimes of history.

Border crossing numbers, however, tell a different story of two communities — including one on the Mexican side of the border — that are in the center of an immigration crisis that has evolved over time.

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

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.”

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Here’s what KTAR News learned from ’48 Hours on the Border’ immigration series