Sarah Palin famously said, “I can see Russia from my house!” Except she didn’t. That line was uttered by Tina Fey on “Saturday Night Live.” The impersonation is more memorable than anything Palin uttered (the consequence of satire’s target being a human cartoon). But those of us in Southern Arizona who live within an hour of the Mexican border can relate to the statement. While we can’t see Mexico from our houses, we can see the monsoon clouds build in the summer and, when we first see them, they are over Mexico. We can’t see Mexico, but we have a pretty good idea when it’s raining in Sonora.
Proximity to our southern neighbor has made Arizona ground-zero in immigration policy. Senate Bill 1070, derided by some as the “Papers, Please!” bill, led to demonstrations and condemnation and was largely invalidated by the Courts. The streets of Tucson and Phoenix were jammed with anti-SB 1070 protesters and, while the bill easily passed the Legislature, it was never popular with most Arizonans. The Arizona – Mexico border has historically been porous, with nationals of Mexico and the U. S. routinely crossing and returning.