Residents of Arizona divided over US immigration issues

World Today

President Trump has made immigration a key campaign issue, zeroing in on the Central American migrant caravan. He has promised to send 15,000 troops to the U.S. border with Mexico to stop what he calls an “invasion.” Some troops are already there, but the caravan is still weeks away.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras filed this report from the U.S. state for Arizona, to see where the people stood on the issue of immigration.

It’s quiet this day in the border town of Naco, Arizona. CGTN found no undocumented immigrants trying to illegally enter the United States over the border fence.

President Donald Trump has deployed 1,100 troops to Arizona for Operation Faithful Patriot. He calls undocumented immigrants a threat to the United States. Thousands of other troops were sent to the borders along California and Texas.

Stephen Dey is a retired worker from Oregon. He’s been living on a piece of land right next to the border for nearly a decade. Dey says Trump’s decision to send soldiers to the U.S. Mexican border is unnecessary.

“Eight years ago, we had 50 to 100 people a day across that field,” Dey said. “Since about four or five years ago, after the border build-up and everything, we’re lucky to see anybody actually.”

Some 120 kilometers to the north, in a middle-class neighborhood of Tucson, Arizona, voters are casting their ballots at a church for the midterm elections.

CGTN spoke with voters there to ask them exactly how important the issue of immigration was for them on election day.

Chris Ruhl is a retired fire department captain from Tucson. He supports the president’s decision to send troops to the border.

“The situation of these folks coming into our country is an invasion, and I think that the deployment of the troops is required to prevent that,” Ruhl said.

Regina Munoz Bennett works with teachers and students in Tucson, and is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants.

“I’m disappointed because I don’t believe in the excessive use of force on groups of people who are trying to safely immigrate to our country,” Bennett said. “They’re people who want a better life and they see opportunity here, which really that’s for anyone who was born here I think we want the same things.”

For now, that part of the border with Mexico remains quiet. It will be some time before the migrants traveling as a caravan will get there, if at all. Either way, officials say, they need to be ready.