As Arizona primary nears, governor candidates turn eyes to border

Downtown Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora / Ken Lund/flicker
Downtown Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora / Ken Lund/flicker

By Fernanda Santos | The New York Times

BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. — Mexico is at least 200 miles south of this city that neighbors Nevada. But that distance seemed irrelevant to the retirees, disabled veterans and civic leaders gathered at a community center’s gym recently for what was billed as a border security forum held by Christine Jones, one of six candidates vying to be the Republican Party’s nominee for governor in Tuesday’s primary election.

“Border security is the biggest priority for me, without a doubt the biggest issue facing us,” said Gina Gustafson, 48, one of the several dozen in attendance.

Sentiments like that have left the candidates trying to outdo one another to sound tough on illegal immigration. Doug Ducey, the state’s treasurer, has called for “fencing, satellite, guardsmen, more police and prosecutors” to secure the border. Andrew Thomas, a former county attorney disbarred in 2012 for abuse of prosecutorial authority, has pledged to build a fence north of the one that already exists — a “fallback line,” as he described it — and then install checkpoints between them.


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