Migrants traveling in the much-publicized caravan from Central America began arriving at the U.S. border this month, largely outside California. Just across the Arizona border in Nogales, Sonora, charities that support immigrants and deportees are also helping more asylum seekers. Arizona 360 visited a shelter run by the Kino Border Initiative to find out more about the influx.
"Our job is to welcome human beings and their dignity. See each mom and say, 'That could be me.' See a child and say, 'That could have been me.' So, identify strongly with the people we receive on a day-to-day basis," said Joanna Williams, Kino Border Initiative's director of education and advocacy.
A group of migrants traveling in a caravan attempted to rush the border in Tijuana over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, leading federal agents to deploy tear gas and the temporary closure of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Arizona Republic reporter Rafael Carranza traveled to Tijuana shortly after the confrontation. He spoke to Lorraine Rivera about the federal government's response and how Customs and Border Protection is stepping up precautions all along the California border and in San Luis, Arizona.
For the first time in more than two decades, Arizonans elected a Democrat to the role of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Kathy Hoffman won a tight race against Republican Frank Riggs. Hoffman discussed some of her top priorities, how she plans to work across the aisle and some of the challenges she foresees.
"For me it will be a challenge to be patient, to work through the process, work through the bureaucracy and also take the time to make sure our policies are going to be effective and helpful for all communities," Hoffman said. "It's going to take years to turn around some of these policies and get back on the right track."
Pima County School Superintendent Dustin Williams was named to Superintendent-elect Hoffman's transition team this week. Just prior to the announcement, Williams shared some of the issues he hopes state lawmakers consider as they determine a budget for the next fiscal year. Specifically, Williams explained how minimum wage increases and a growing demand for special education have strained resources in public school districts.
"The cost that it takes to deliver that support for that education and those students is an astronomical number," Williams said. "I have a district school right now with about 20 special needs students in that classroom, and that classroom for that year is going to cost me about half a million dollars."
Now that election results are final, Arizona 360 invited Tucson Sentinel editor and publisher Dylan Smith and Green Valley News/Sahuarita Sun editor Dan Shearer to analyze the results and look ahead to key issues facing state lawmakers next year.