Arizona welcomes Mexicans

Arizona, a solidly ‘red’ (Republican) American state, is enacting policies to attract more Mexican visitors. This contrasts sharply with the promise of presidential candidate Donald Trump to build a high, sturdy wall along the US-Mexico border.

Arizonan movers and shakers have started to think that bringing in more Mexicans is a good way to stimulate growth. To make people from south of the border feel more welcome, county planning organisations, municipal officials and business leaders are lining up behind a proposal to transform their entire state into a “free-travel zone” for millions of better-off Mexicans with the money and wherewithal to qualify for a travel document that is widely used in the south-west, but little known elsewhere — a border-crossing card, or BCC. ….

BCC holders are currently allowed to go 75 miles into Arizona, which takes them as far as Tucson, the state’s second-largest city. But Arizona officials are seeking a change in federal rules that would allow these people to roam across the [entire] state, hoping that if the visitors travel further, they will stay longer and spend more money at malls, restaurants and tourist attractions.

The desired Mexicans are a far cry from the “murderers” and “rapists” of Mr Trump’s stump speeches. They can afford the $160 fee and offer the proof of employment and family ties back home that are required for a BCC, which is good for 10 years and enables Mexicans to remain in the US for up to 30 days at a time. To stay longer or travel further, they need more documentation.

Gary Silverman, “US-Mexico border: Arizona’s open door“, The Big Read, Financial Times, 18 December 2015 (metered paywall).

FT BCC 2015

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One Response to “Arizona welcomes Mexicans”

  1. Patti Riggs says:

    It sounds like a smart move to bring in more money to the AZ economy. It’s hard to believe that a lot of our leaders, who are staunch, racist Republicans, would support the idea.