As a southwestern state with a long and complex history of crossborder ties with Mexico, Arizona’s view of the U.S.-Mexico border tends to weigh heavily in the national conversation over how the southern border is managed. What is interesting is that Arizona’s view seems to be shifting away from the national conversation, even since the momentous 2016 presidential campaign. According to a recent survey developed by Mexico’s Food and Development Research Center (Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo, CIAD) and the North American Research Partnership (NARP), Arizona currently has a much different attitude with respect to the U.S.-Mexico border and related subjects.
NARP and CIAD recently interviewed 600 residents of the state of Arizona to gauge their attitudes and opinions towards the U.S.-Mexico border and other key topics regarding the US-Mexico relationship. The results of the survey (conducted with a sample size of 600 Arizona residents from November 6-14) might be surprising to those who remember the SB 1070 discussions of 2010-2011.
The opportunities and challenges of the region clearly emerge in the survey responses. Security, illegal immigration, and drug trafficking all (predictably) emerge as important concerns that Arizonans have towards the state’s southern neighbor. At the same time, however, its citizens prize policies that facilitate trade, cross-border shoppers and legal workers into the state. Most notably for the national conversation, at least for the moment, a majority of Arizonans do not support proposals such as an expanded border wall or hard-line immigration policies.
Victor Remigio Martínez has a master’s degree in public policy from ITAM and has been a scholar in regional and border-related issues at ASU and UCSD.