International trade and immigration continue to capture the nation's attention and, subsequently, bring into focus Arizona and its relationship with Mexico.
At the recent Arizona-Mexico Commission Summit, Lorraine Rivera sat down with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich to discuss how the economic alliance they have formed could be affected by issues like NAFTA renegotiations, tariffs and illegal immigration.
This week, Arizona 360 looked into Cochise County's efforts to crack down on young drug smugglers. A few years ago, County Attorney Brian McIntyre began requesting that minors arrested on drug smuggling charges be prosecuted as adults. He explained to Lorraine Rivera that he wanted to send a different message after cartels had convinced teens they would face few penalties if authorities caught them. McIntyre believes his strategy is helping deter smugglers. In the fall of 2017, his office prosecuted 10 minors as adults. As of March 2018, that number dropped to zero. Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels also expressed support for the attorney's crackdown. Dannels said it plays into larger efforts to stop the flow of drugs into the United States.
Nationwide, fewer minors between the ages of 10 and 17 years old are being arrested, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Justice. That includes minors accused of violent crimes like murder, rape and aggravated assault. Christopher Vogler, director of probation services at Pima County Juvenile Court, said national trends parallel what is happening in the county. According to Vogler, over the last two decades the number of minors transferred to adult court for prosecution has dropped from about 200 cases per year to between 60 and 70. He also discussed the developmental impact of prosecuting minors as adults.
Several times a year, the financial news site 24/7 Wall St. features Tucson on lists with headlines like "50 Worst Cities to Live In," based on factors like poverty, median home values and the education levels of residents. Arizona 360 asked Visit Tucson President and CEO Brent DeRaad how his organization gets past the negative portrayal Tucson receives in these articles to promote the city's other offerings.
A $28 million project to renovate Tucson International Airport is nearly complete. Much of the funding went to updating infrastructure that dated back to the 1960s, reconfiguring floor plans for new restaurants and retailers, and redesigning security checkpoints. During a tour, Vice President of Planning and Engineering Mike Smejkal said traffic has steadily grown in the last few years and changes are meant to attract more carriers and routes to the airport. About 3.4 million passengers travel through the airport annually on 60 daily flights during peak season in winter and spring. He also spoke about what renovations TIA is considering next.