|Because the Sonora and Arizona twin
cities of Nogales share so much common ground, people on both sides of
this large international community came long ago to know it by a common
name: they dubbed it Ambos Nogales -- loosely, "both Nogaleses."
The area is "un lugar muy especial" -- a very
special place -- for a lot of different reasons. Being located on the international
boundary that separates the United States and Mexico makes the area more
intensely bilingual than many other areas of Arizona. The people share
a common heritage, background and ancestry.
But beyond this obvious common ground, the Nogales
area, because of its location, occupies a special niche among the concerns
and the economics that have state, national and even international impact.
There are few parts of the United States where
decisions in either Washington or Mexico City can and do affect two communities
in two countries with such swiftness. A policy change, a trade decision,
immigration law -- can and do have immediate impact on thousands of people
who live not just on one side of the border, but on both sides.
It is a special place, with special problems.
And special situations frequently deserve special attention.
One good example of this special status is the
interlocking and wide impact of trade and economic development in the Nogales
area. A healthy Santa Cruz County goes far beyond Southern Arizona.
||Produce imports mean a good market for Mexican
growers, and Mexico benefits.
||Produce imports mean jobs for Santa Cruz County,
and that's good for Nogales and for Arizona.
||Produce imports help hold prices down for the
American consumer. And that's good news for the whole country.
||The Twin Plants concept means capital investment
on both sides of the border. Again, Arizona and U.S. business both benefit;
so does Sonora.
||In the end, both of these developments mean more
jobs in both counties.
||Both of these industries continue
to have my earnest support. They make the best kind of economic sense,
and both, in direct and indirect ways, address international, national,
state and local concerns: jobs, the economy, the price of produce in the
United States, and, in a small way, immigration.
'The Tomato War'
For some time, Santa Cruz County has found itself
the unwitting target of a "Tomato War" -- a conflict created and "exported"
by the State of Florida in an attempt to impose packing standards on Mexican
produce that Florida has imposed on its own growers.
Had Florida succeeded in this "war" -- and the
battles have been close -- the impact on the produce industry in Santa
Cruz County would have been disastrous.
The impact beyond would have meant higher produce
prices for American consumers in general, and lost jobs in Mexico and the
Local officials estimate that the produce industry,
in wholesale terms, generates between $150 million and $180 million each
year. At the local level, $20 million is paid each year in U.S. Customs
duties just at the Nogales border station. At least 600 Santa Cruz County
residents depend directly on the produce industry for their jobs, and hundreds
more owe their employment indirectly to the produce industry. It is an
industry with gigantic economic effects.
That's why I asked the Agriculture Subcommittee
on Domestic Marketing not to approve a bill back in 1977 that would have
imposed the Florida packing rules on Mexican tomatoes. The bill died.
That's why I went to bat in October, 1979, when
the Treasury Department was asked to investigate Florida's charges that
Mexican vegetables were being "dumped" on the American market at deliberately
low prices. Treasury ruled against Florida.
That's why I delivered a letter straight to the
President last year, which said in part:
"There is no sinister attempt here by Mexican
growers to dominate the American market, no attempt