Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Controlling the Flow of Traffic...

from the U.S. to Mexico?
Crossing the border into Mexico where the legal drinking age is a lightly enforced 18 has long been the golden ticket for high school and college students who can't legally drink at bars in the United States.

But it's becoming more difficult for teens under 18 to have their fun without getting in trouble with the law.

Increased enforcement by Mexican police has pushed Nogales bar owners to more rigidly check IDs. Law enforcement officials in Nogales, Ariz., and the other border communities of Douglas and Agua Prieta have set up special operations on unannounced weekends to enforce a law Arizona legislators passed in 2002 making it illegal for those under 21 with alcohol in their systems to cross back into the United States.

Now, state lawmakers are considering Senate bill 1064 sponsored by Sen. Robert Cannell, D-Yuma which would allow a city, town or county to adopt an ordinance enabling a police officer to prevent a minor from entering Mexico.

Ahhhhhh, Nogi. I wish I could remember the full list of memories you gave me during my college years. The late nights of dancing, drink and stops at the Little Red Taco Stand at the second intersection after walking across the line. You were just a taste of the freedom that I would learn to harness later on in life. Thanks for being the training wheels that kept me from losing balance when I finally turned the legal age to drink here in the States.

It's all about responsibility. Period. The kids who are going to be stupid enough to go across the line and get inebriated are the same ones who are going to do it here. I know first-hand [insert crooked halo here]

This bill follows the same path of many of the anti-immigration laws: there is no consultation with the full range of authorities that it affects. Only the hard-lined sheriffs and county administrations are driving policy recommendations, they are ignoring and giving the middle finger to the people who can provide a balanced and practical answer to these issues.
Nogales Police Chief John Kissinger opposes the proposal. For starters, he said, he wasn't contacted about the measure. Second, stopping minors at a border point of entry that sees about 15 million people each year would create a host of legal and logistical problems.

"It would be nearly impossible for us to enforce it," Kissinger said.
The biggest lesson I've learned in the past five years is that virtually all of our elected officials, from the school board table to the Oval Office need leadership training for effective governance. The skills drought is more stark than the lack of rain here in the desert.

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