US-Mexico border: new tourist attraction?(Read article summary)
With news of drug violence along the US-Mexico border, most Americans are avoiding it. But one tour beckons, promising an apolitical view that gets past the usual rhetoric.
The US-Mexico border: scary place or misunderstood region?
Now you can find out for yourself. A new Arizona bus tour promises to shed light on what life is really like along a stretch of the 2,000-mile international boundary, a flashpoint for heated debate over illegal immigration and national security.
â€śBorder Crisis: Fact and Fictionâ€ť introduces tour-goers to ranchers, business owners, and others who live and work on both sides of the border.
â€śTake your own fact-finding mission on the US-Mexico border,â€ť a Gray Line Tours advertises. â€śDonâ€™t let the politicians and news broadcasters become your only source of information.â€ť
The $75 tours, touted as apolitical, aim to get past the rhetoric that revolves around the border by offering twice-a-month trips to Nogales, Ariz., about 60 miles south of Tucson. The tours include a look at the state's busiest port of entry, the border wall, and a water tank placed a few miles away to aid migrants making the illegal trek north through the desert.
â€śSo many people with so many agendas want the average person to believe the border is a certain way,â€ť tour guide Bob Feinman says. â€śSometimes itâ€™s a good thing, sometimes itâ€™s a bad thing. And itâ€™s a pretty controversial thing all the time.â€ť
The daylong trip gives people an opportunity to gain enough of an understanding about the border to shape their own views, he says.
Nogales is a high desert town of about 20,000 that lies in the Border Patrolâ€™s 260-mile Tucson sector, the most guarded along the Southwest border. The town also is hub for cross-border commerce.
The short trip is ideal for those who want to satisfy their curiosity about the much-discussed border region, says Bob Phillips, the foundationâ€™s executive director.
He hopes people who take the tour walk away with a picture in their minds that more closely resembles reality. â€śWe certainly think thatâ€™s a good thing,â€ť Mr. Phillips says.