An Arizona town is condemning the federal government’s use of razor wire on the border wall running through its downtown area as an “indiscriminate use of lethal force.”
The Nogales City Council passed the measure unanimously Wednesday night, and included a threat that it will sue the federal government if it doesn’t remove the wire, CNN affiliate KOLD reported. Nogales is a town of about 20,000 about an hour’s drive from Tucson.
The city’s resolution comes as the Pentagon announced this week it is sending 3,750 additional US forces to the southwest border to support Customs and Border Protection. As part of that deployment, troops are placing 150 miles of concertina wire between ports of entry.
In a video recorded in front of the wire before the meeting, Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino said, “I can’t really imagine why this is necessary, especially in a downtown area where we’re trying to build a business-friendly community, so close to an area where we’ve had economic problems in the past. This right here is not safe, for anybody walking through here. This wire is at ground level. It’s not only at the top, but it’s ground level.”
Garino said the city has had a wall for 20 to 30 years. The 14-foot barrier separates the Mexican and American towns, both named Nogales.
“Now concertina wire is being placed on that wall from the very top all the way to ground level, which is not safe for the residents of Nogales, Arizona, and it’s not safe for anyone getting close to it.”
During the council meeting, Garino said his biggest concern is tourism and safety, KOLD reported. “I fear the day that our first responders have to go to the wire because somebody fell in there and they need to extricate that person from there.”
Garino said the city also plans to take legal action.
“We want to address this issue, and we would like this wire to be removed as soon as possible, so we’re going to be working on that, and working with representatives from the state of Arizona, and also the governor, hopefully, and Border Patrol, and Customs and Border Protection to see if we can resolve this problem.”
CNN has reached out to Customs and Border Protection for comment and to city officials for more information.
In response to concerns Nogales officials expressed about the razor wire earlier this week, Customs and Border Protection told CNN affiliate KGUN that the agency was making “necessary preparations” as migrant caravans head toward the US border.
Keith Allen and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.