Photos: Life on the Border - Nogales, Arizona & Sonora

Photos: Life on the Border - Nogales, Arizona & Sonora

Credit: Alicia E. Barrón

Approaching the border checkpoint near Amado, Arizona just past Tubac on Interstate 19.

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by Alicia E. Barrón / Jim Jagneaux

azfamily.com

Posted on September 18, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 8:59 PM

NOGALES, Ariz. -- Nogales, Ariz., population 21,017, is a small town perched on the international border between the United States and Mexico. As Arizona's largest international border town, Nogales is known for being one of the most heavily used entry points between the U.S. and Mexico.

Nogales is home to U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Nogales Station, which is the largest Border Patrol station in the United States. It is one of eight CBP stations in the Tucson Sector. Border Patrol agents from Nogales Station cover 1,100 square miles of rough terrain, including 32 miles of international border.

Just a few steps across the border is Nogales, Sonora, population 212,533, which has grown by more than 50 percent since 1990. This growth in population is due in part to the opening of Maquiladoras, or manufacturing plants, which employ thousands of Sonorans.

The two cities, separated by an international border, share much more than a name. More than 60 percent of Nogales, Arizona's sales tax comes from Mexican shoppers crossing the border daily and Nogales, Sonora, has long been a popular destination for U.S. tourists. 

In recent years, the Mexican state of Sonora has been at the center of an ongoing armed conflict as drug cartels battle with Mexican authorities. This turmoil and violence has curtailed the tourist trade in Nogales and many other Mexcian border towns.

View Photos: Life in a Border Town - Nogales, Arizona

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