Wall Street Journal
By Byron Tau
March 19, 2016
Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz visited the U.S.-Mexican border this week in Arizona before the state’s March 22 primary election. But each picked very different parts of the frontier to emphasize in their campaign messages.
Mr. Cruz visited a remote ranch on Friday more than four hours from Phoenix, where a low barrier separated the U.S. from Mexico. Mr. Cruz emphasized how easy it was to cross the fence and criticized the poor state of border security.
“My 5-year-old could climb this in about 3 seconds,” Mr. Cruz said. He pointed down the dirt road that runs along the border and said: “There’s no barrier at all a couple miles down.”
He then held a news conference at the ranch house a few miles away from the border. Reporters traveling to the event drove nearly 20 miles on an unpaved road, far from the nearest town of Douglas. There, Mr. Cruz talked about the dangers that Arizona ranchers faced from human traffickers and drug smugglers operating along the rural frontier.
Mr. Sanders also held a news conference along the border, but he chose Nogales, Ariz., for his event. There, a border wall nearly 20 feet high separates the Arizona town from the Mexican city that shares the same name.
Instead of border security, Mr. Sanders spoke about the human cost of the nation’s immigration policies — saying that the U.S. too often separated families and forced illegal immigrants to live in constant fear of deportation.
“We don’t need a wall and we don’t need barbed wire,” he said. “We need to fix our broken criminal justice system. First and foremost, it goes without saying that we need comprehensive immigration reform, we need to take 11 million undocumented people out of the shadows, out of fear, and we need to provide them with legal protection, and we need to provide them with a path toward citizenship.”
The Republicans and Democrats have diverged sharply over immigration in recent years. Both Mr. Sanders and his rival Hillary Clinton have said they would curtail or halt deportations and push for allowing illegal immigrants currently here to earn U.S. citizenship. Republicans, including front-runner Donald Trump, have vowed to significantly increase border security. Mr. Trump has suggested a fence along the entire border with Mexico, as well as the deportation of the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants in the country.
The two different photo opportunities near the border allowed the candidates to speak to their respective party bases. Some sections of the Arizona border are fenced only to keep vehicles out, while other sections near more populated areas have tall walls to discourage crossings on foot.
Mr. Sanders’s campaign aimed to signal his opposition to the current border security measures by standing near one of the tallest sections of the wall. Mr. Cruz, on the other hand, aimed to speak to concerns among his party base about the influx of illegal immigrants into the U.S.
Same border. Different messages.
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