NOGALES / NOGALES   




NOGALES / NOGALES


Nogales, Sonora is the main city on the map here, while Nogales, Arizona is a sleepy hamlet by comparison. But it turns out that both cities were small farming towns before the onslaught of the maquiladora economy that has taken Mexico by storm since the 1980s.

Now approximately 100 manufacturing plants have located there due to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Nogales's economy has shifted to low-wage manufacturing, creating an influx of tens of thousands of small farm refugees who are forced to live in neighborhoods without any infrastructure.

Often out of desperation, those who've already moved once to work at the border, try to cross into the U.S. to earn money to survive. Human and drug trafficking have increased here as well, especially as drug lords exploit poor human "mules" (as the drug lords call them) to haul goods into the U.S.