By Karl Reiner
Despite the sour view held by some politicians in Phoenix, not everything on the Arizona-Sonora, Mexico border is dangerous. Arizona's ports of entry process about 22 million visitors a year. They travel and spend money in Arizona. Through September 2013, U.S. merchandise exports to Mexico totaled $167.4 billion. Arizona's exporters accounted for $5.2 billion. The expansion of Mariposa port of entry at Nogales, scheduled to be completed in late spring 2014, is stimulating development in the region. The work doubling the capacity of the port at Guaymas, Sonora will benefit Arizona's economy when completed in two years. Cooperation is increasing between local officials because they realize Arizona and Sonora have intersecting economic interests.
The shrewd Texans have a broader prospective. They study the effect of border wait time on trade. Along with security, the Texas legislature has an interest in international cargo and passenger traffic trends, problems and solutions. This attitude may partly explain why the volume of Texas exports to Mexico is 14 times larger than Arizona's. While approximately 400,000 undocumented migrants live in Arizona, about 1.7 million reside in Texas. The October 2013 unemployment rate stands at 8.2% in Arizona. Although Texas appears to be swamped by undocumented people, its unemployment rate is 6.2%. The correlation between the presence of illegal migrants and unemployment may be somewhat less than we have been led to believe.