Arturo Garino said one of his constituents told him about the razor wire on Saturday night.
Garino knew the military had installed a line of wire across the top of the fence that divides Nogales, a border town of about 20,000 in Arizona, from its sister city in Mexico, after troops were deployed to the border by President Trump before the midterm election. The resident, who lived just steps from the border, was calling Garino, the mayor, to complain that troops had been out again to deploy more wire across the 18-foot fence over the weekend.
What Garino saw when he arrived at the fence surprised him: Row after row of razor wire had been strung on the fence so that it covered nearly the entire surface in parts. Photographs show as many of six separate coils of wire — typically made from steel and studded with hundreds of razor-like barbs — covering portions of the fence, lending it the appearance of a war zone or a high-security prison.
Garino said he was confused. Trump’s push was for a wall, which the town already has. So what was the point of the wire?
“This is overkill,” Garino said in a phone interview. “It’s way over the top.”
Trump has painted a vivid picture of life on the border: Lawlessness; hordes of people seeking to cross; horrific crimes committed after immigrants make it into America. That is the universe created in the president’s Twitter feed and speeches, on cable news shows and partisan blogs. But the border is its own world — a nearly 2,000 mile stretch of land that exists mostly quietly and undisturbed. And towns like Nogales share the space that has been thrust into center stage of the president’s political ambitions.
The razor wire is what happens when those two worlds meet — when heated talk becomes policy in the real world. And on the ground in Nogales, it is not being received well. [Continue reading…]