Despite the rhetoric emanating from Washington, D.C. on immigration and border issues, Arizona’s leaders are acutely aware of the importance of not only maintaining, but also strengthening, U.S. ties with Mexico. After all, the two countries’ fates are intertwined, something that is particularly true for Arizona and its neighboring state of Sonora.
Jessica Pacheco, the president of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, paraphrased Gov. Doug Ducey’s words in noting that Arizona and Mexico are more than neighbors, as “neighbors can move.”
“More than economic ties, our shared border gives us deep social and cultural alliances, as well,” she said. Indeed, Mexico’s success is Arizona’s boon, and vice versa.
The commission promotes cross-border trade, and facilitates networking and sharing of information between the two nations. One of its immediate challenges following the passage of S1070 was gargantuan – help repair the two countries’ soured relationship, something that Ducey immediately worked on.
“He recognizes that Mexico is far and away Arizona’s largest trading partner. He likes to say times four – Mexico is 40 percent of our exports, and $7.5 million is spent every day by our friends from Mexico in our restaurants, hotels and shops,” said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. But Hamer said the state of that relationship also spills over beyond trade, into weighty subjects like water.
Today, Ducey and Sonora, Mexico Gov. Claudia Pavlovich Arellano enjoy a particularly robust relationship, which has been hailed as a national best practice in both countries.