Opportunities in border communities

Border mayors came together for the Arizona-Mexico Commission Summit held in Tucson, Arizona on June 14th to discuss the important contributions their cities make to the state of Arizona and to Mexico. Economic opportunity is vast in Arizona border communities, which can be categorized by three major takeaways:


A recurring sentiment expressed throughout the summit was, “cross-border collaboration is key.” All the mayors mentioned how their work would not be possible if not for the collaboration with other cities surrounding them.

Mayor Gerardo Sanchez from the City of San Luis expressed sincere gratitude for the teamwork that he sees constantly on display. “I want to thank and congratulate every single mayor in this area because we’re not competing with one another. We’re working for one goal and that’s to make Arizona and San Luis strong.”


Visitors are traveling to and from the United States in large numbers. More than 25 million people travel to Arizona through the ports of entry each year. San Luis alone, with its two points of entry, processes about 8 million people per year, according to Mayor Sanchez.

Mayor Doyle of Nogales attributes part of the attraction of border tourism to the flavorful culture. “We can really feel the culture when we cross the border. I mean, you’re in a different country but I think that’s one of the things that attracts the tourists.”

Investment in Infrastructure

Investing in infrastructure is critical to helping border cities develop and thrive.

Mayor Sanchez put it simply, “If you’re not going to have infrastructure, you’re not going to have the investment. So that’s the key.”

Growth and development of border communities can be as simple as a fast-food chain. The city of Somerton, for example, is thrilled by the opening of a Burger King in their region. “People see Burger King as fast-food and in reality, to us it is a lot more,” said Somerton Mayor Jose Yepez. “It’s the idea that other corporations are willing to invest in our community because they see the growth in our community so it has helped other businesses to come to our community as well.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Yuma is seeing new industrial opportunities, such as hard-boiled egg company Almark.  “If you’ve ever gone to a restaurant and think that they make it in the back that’s not true,” said Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls. “There’s a manufacturing plant that’s creating that and that is being opened in Yuma with 100 jobs and producing, I think, a million eggs a day for distribution across the western half of the United States.”

Morgan Carr

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