Opposing Arizona mayors discuss how the border wall would affect their cities
May 15, 2018
Mayors of Yuma and Douglas present their opposing views on the building of a border wall, how it would impact their communities and how a compromise could be reached.
President Donald Trump has remained adamant on his campaign promise of building a wall between the United States and Mexico. Since there has been no progress on the plan thus far, he has sent National Guard troops to protect the border until something can be agreed upon.
Mayor of Yuma Douglas Nicholls is in agreement with the president because he believes it will protect his community’s public safety. Yuma has a fence along the border that’s been in place since 2006. Nicholls says before the fence was up there were almost 150,000 people who were stopped crossing the border not through ports. There were also 280,000 people who would pass through the community.
“In 2006, the border wall was built and it changed our community,” Nicholls says. “Those interjected dropped to 8,000 and those coming through our community dropped to 16,000. It freed up our police force and our public safety to go back and do those things that were meant for the city.”
For Nicholls, the purpose of building a wall would rest heavily on protecting public safety. He says his town’s fence caused a dramatic drop in crime numbers. Murders and manslaughter fell by 50 percent, vehicle theft decreased by 65 percent and theft dropped 25 percent, according to Nicholls.
Mayor of Douglas Robert Uribe has a different point of view. He says if you ask anyone in his community, they will agree that if money can be spent, it should be spent on infrastructure and education rather than a wall. Douglas hasn’t seen any major infrastructure funding in over 30 years, he says.
“I do agree that protecting those within the border is one of the most important things that we ought to do,” Uribe says. “Mayor Nicholls and myself are at the forefront of national security. In our situation, we’re one of the safest border communities in the state of Arizona.”
If people are willing to find a compromise, Uribe says it begins with a diplomatic discussion between those with opposing views like himself and Nicholls.