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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Racial tensions hinder Arizona-Mexico relations

    Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, along with several other Phoenix officials, recently returned from a five-day trip to Mexico to meet with government leaders.

    There, in the port city of Guaymas, Sonora, he told reporters that “the establishment of Guaymas as a major port means Tucson increases in prominence as a logistics hub for a very large and prosperous region.”

    From the beginning of his term in office, Rothschild made it clear that he “wanted to be a participant and not merely an observer of the relationship with Mexico,” said Felipe Garcia, executive vice president of the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau, to Inside Tucson Business. Garcia, who accompanied the mayor on his trip, said Rothschild “wants to actually work to create opportunities for Tucson companies.”

    Despite its location, Arizona is not among the top five states that engage in trade with Mexico, according to Inside Tucson Business. Is this surprising? Not particularly.

    Rothschild theorizes that a stronger partnership could result in a boosted economy for Tucson and Phoenix by providing thousands of jobs.

    But Gov. Brewer’s most recent move against immigration was an order to state officials not to provide undocumented immigrants with driver’s licenses or other public benefits, even if they had been granted deferred status under a new federal program.

    Under the program, federal authorities will accept applications from undocumented immigrants who seek to remain in the U.S. and work without fear of deportation for at least two years.

    Brewer continues to deeply offend Mexican-Americans with strict anti-immigration legislation like the banning of the ethnic studies classes. It’s no wonder Arizona isn’t in the top five trade states, given the tension of the immigration debate.

    “I also delivered the message that Tucson is not interested in demonizing Mexico, Mexicans or people of Mexican descent,” Rothschild said to media outlets upon his return. “We are partners and should work together.”

    How idealistic. It’s a wonderful idea, it truly is. At less than two hours away, Mexico would be the perfect partner for imports and exports, except for the fact that the past two years have been an ugly war over the number of Mexican immigrants in our country.

    The effects of that war are devastating, and not always immediately visible. All of this immigration talk has encouraged prejudice and animosity toward Mexican-Americans and immigrants.

    Examples of this prejudice include thinking Mexican immigrants are lazy or dangerous, or they’re thieves, drug lords and gangsters.

    Rothschild’s extension of a friendly hand cannot cancel out a governor and Legislature with a history of anti-immigrant sentiment.
    Improving economic relations with Mexico is not going to happen as long as such deep racial tension exists.

    — Hollie Dowdle is a journalism junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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