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

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Nogales, Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Showing boundary line between Arizona and Mexico." General view of center of town from hillside, looking west along International Street, ca. 1898~99 By Belo Content KTVK Nogales, Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Showing boundary line between Arizona and Mexico." General view of center of town from hillside, looking west along International Street, ca. 1898~99 By Belo Content KTVK
By Belo Content KTVK By Belo Content KTVK
By Belo Content KTVK By Belo Content KTVK
Sheriff's deputy along Interstate 10 who stopped me because of 'low visibility' due to some shades on my window. Not cited. By Alicia Barron Sheriff's deputy along Interstate 10 who stopped me because of 'low visibility' due to some shades on my window. Not cited. By Alicia Barron
Approaching the border checkpoint near Amado, Arizona and the agent and K9 officer are ready to sniff every car passing through. By Alicia Barron Approaching the border checkpoint near Amado, Arizona and the agent and K9 officer are ready to sniff every car passing through. By Alicia Barron

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