Garino offers view of border in D.C.
By Manuel C. Coppola
Published Tuesday, April 12, 2011 10:44 AM CDT
When Mayor Arturo Garino hoped in his pick-up truck Saturday to go
catch a Washington, D.C.-bound airplane in Phoenix, little did he
know he would bump into Cindy McCain while boarding.
The coincidence may have brought home the point to the lifelong
Democrat that when it comes to Nogales and the border, politics is
not confined to one side of the aisle.
The pair briefly chatted not only about Ambos Nogales, but also the
mayor's and her husband John McCain's Vietnam experiences. When they
landed at Reagan National Airport, Mrs. McCain wished him the best
and that of the City of Nogales, Garino told his wife Catherine in a
The conference was called, "Forward Together/Avanzando Juntos: A
Conference Looking at the Changing Politics of the Americas."
Preferring to stay close to the ground, Garino flies only when duty
calls as it did during his stint in Vietnam. But the flight to
Washington was the second time he's had to take to the skies since
then in his role as mayor of Nogales. In January, he toured the
border in a Black Hawk helicopter with Allen Bersin, director of U.S.
Customs and Border Protection.
On Monday Garino donned a purple tie to signify his mission was non-
He was glad he did. Among the first people he ran into in the lobby
of the Newseum, where the convention was held, was Michael Steele,
former chairman of the Republican National Committee and ex-governor
of Maryland. The convention, meanwhile, was sponsored by the left-of-
center NDN think tank and the New Policy Institute progressive
Contacted by cell phone in the green room, Garino nervously told this
reporter he was about to go on stage to appear for discussions with
Chappell Lawson, former executive director and senior policy advisor
to the CBP commissioner about issues affecting the United States-
Mexico border. Lawson is co-author of one of academic work on the
future of the border region. He is currently an associate professor
at MIT with a concentration in Latin America.
The convention also featured major addresses by leaders well
experienced in the border region, including former New Mexico Gov.
Bill Richardson; Dan Restrepo, senior director for the Western
Hemisphere at the National Security Council; Roberta Jacobson, deputy
assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere; Deputy U.S.
Trade Representative Miriam E. Sapiro; Arturo Sarukhan, ambassador
from Mexico to the United States; and a panel discussion on the
changing politics of the US-Latin America relationship.
As a prelude to Monday's conference, on April 1, Secretary of
Homeland Security Janet Napolitano addressed NDN and NPI on the Obama
administration's vision for a "21st Century Border" with Mexico, and
issues involving the enforcement U.S. immigration law. (See video at