The Tale of Two Cities: US/Mexico Border City of Nogales in 1898 and 2008

The town of Nogales is split down the middle of the US/Mexico border (Arizona in the US and Sonora on the Mexican side). Think or Thwim blog has a neat compilation of photos of Nogales in 1898, when you can simply cross the border anywhere, and 2008 (with a 15-foot tall fence and border patrol agents every 50 yards.)

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The interesting thing is that it is a huge smuggling town (people and drugs). The main reason being that smugglers just jump the fence right outside of town and make a 200 yard mad dash to the safe house on american soil. All the while with Mexican sharp shooters on the mexico side. Since border patrol cannot pursue them in Mexico, they pretty much can get away with murder if a border patrol officer isn't careful. Really interesting city.
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I have been to Nogales (both sides) recently and there is in fact a large wall down the middle of it. It is interesting to look at Google Maps and see the concentrated streets on the Mexican side of the border and the less dense arrangement on the American side. The most interesting or maybe frustrating part about the town is that every day, and often several times a day people cross the border because they work, live or go to school on either side of it. It is not just Mexicans working in the US it is Americans working in Mexico. many have relatives on either side as well, some of whom are Mexican citizens, some United States, some permanent residents. They all have to adapt to the wall and the border and enhanced need for documents. Seems to be a pain.

It was the first time I walked from one country into another.
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