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Border reopening shines light on the linked economies of Arizona and Mexico

After more than a year and a half of painful closures, Arizona border businesses are finally breathing a sigh of relief this week.

The Biden administration announced earlier this week that it will reopen our southern border to fully vaccinated travelers in November.

KJZZ's Hermosillo bureau has covered border relations throughout the pandemic. They spoke with longtime Nogales business owner Evan Kory when the news came down.

“For 19 months now we've been waiting. And at first it was every month; we'd wait 'til the 21st to see if they were going to open. And of course they didn't. You know, we got used to this rhythm of expectation and disappointment,” Kory said.

After 19 long months, though, he said he’s unsure how resilient businesses will be.

“We're going to have to wait and see how the community bounces back,” Kory said.

But the economic ties between Arizona and our neighbor to the south go beyond border towns.

According to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, before the pandemic, Mexican nationals spent an estimated $7 million per day in Arizona’s tourism economy.

Andrew Selee is president of the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. The Show spoke with him to learn about how our economies are linked.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.