The City Council of Nogales, Arizona, has voted unanimously on a resolution ordering Trump administration officials to rip out new “lethal” razor wire coiled on a border fence along the downtown shopping district.
Such wire is “only found in a war, prison or battle setting” and is highly inappropriate for an urban area, states the resolution the council passed Wednesday. The bristling concertina wire is now attached to the fence from top to bottom.
“Placing coiled concertina wire that is designed to inflict serious bodily injury or death in the immediate proximity of our residents, children, pets, law enforcement and first responders is not only irresponsible but inhuman,” the resolution states.
The resolution demands that officials remove all concertina wire within city limits. it also states that no military force or the “use of military-type tactics designed to inflict indiscriminate harm” should be allowed in Nogales without an express declaration of war by Congress — or a national emergency.
“I don’t know why Nogales is being used as their concertina poster city,” Mayor Arturo Garino said at the City Council meeting, reported Nogales International. “This is not right.”
He said he fears the day that “our first responders have to go to the wire because somebody fell in there and they need to extricate that person.”
School buses travel along the fence, and children play where the concertina wire is exposed.
“They didn’t ask us, did they?” resident Sherri Dickson asked the council before the vote, according to the Tucson Sentinel. “They’re turning our town into a military base. It’s like the frontlines of some kind of war-zone.”
Officials also see the coils as an unnecessary blight that will hurt tourism and shopping in the town of 20,000, which relies solely on sales tax for its income. The concertina wire is also a constant, depressing sight for Nogales residents.
“It looks just like the Berlin wall; it’s terrible,” Nogales visitor Karen Martin told the Sentinel as she shopped downtown.
If federal officials refuse to comply, Garino said the city is prepared to go to court. Garino told Nogales’ city attorney to file Freedom of Information Act requests to see how many people have actually climbed over the wall in recent years, reported the Tucson Sun Sentinel.
A statement from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said that its priority is “safety and security,” but it did not address the danger of the concertina wire to local people and pets. A representative said there are no plans to remove the wire, according to the Sentinel.
Border officials last November topped the border fence with razor wire. The military was directed by border officials to followed up last week with another two to three rows of wire down to ground level.
A record amount of fentanyl — 250 pounds worth $3.5 million — was confiscated late last month at the Nogales border. But it was discovered at the port of entry hidden in a truck transporting cucumbers. Concertina wire played no role in the seizure.
The Trump administration is beginning to take new action on the border, and border communities are beginning to speak out. Land has been seized from the National Butterfly Center, a private, nonprofit refuge, for a new wall along a Rio Grande levee in Mission, Texas, that will cut off 70 percent of the center’s 100 acres. The center plans to seek a restraining order to stop the construction.
All nine members of the House of Representatives from southern border districts in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California oppose President Donald Trump’s wall. Among senators in those states, only Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) support the wall.