Arizona city wants U.S. government to remove "lethal" razor wire from its 20-foot border wall

By Christopher Brito

/ CBS News

Trump makes his case for a border wall

The mayor of Nogales, Arizona is threatening to sue to the federal government if it doesn't remove razor wire that now covers an entire stretch of border wall in the city. Nogales sits squarely along on the U.S.-Mexico border, and U.S. military troops recently added layers of concertina wire from top to bottom on an existing border wall in the downtown area.

The Nogales City Council passed a resolution Wednesday condemning the installation, describing the razor-sharp wire as "lethal" and "inhuman."

"Placing coiled concertina wire strands on the ground is typically only found in a war, battlefield, or prison setting, and not in an urban setting," the city council's resolution reads. Using razor wire "that is designed to inflict serious bodily injury or death in the immediate proximity of our residents, children, pets, law enforcement and first responders is not only irresponsible but inhuman," it adds.

A school bus rolls past the concertina wire-covered fence in downtown Nogales, Ariz. The small Arizona border city is fighting back against the installation of razor fencing that now covers the entirety of a tall border fence. Jonathan Clark / AP

The vote came a day after President Trump highlighted border security in his State of the Union address, declaring, "Walls work and walls save lives!"

Mayor Arturo Garino doesn't see the benefit of having this type of wiring. Instead, he believes it will hurt the residents of his city.

"See, we respond to calls at the border," Garino told CBS affiliate KPHO. "We respond to people falling off the fence — broken legs, broken limbs. We respond to even pregnancies. We're the agency that responds to calls at the border. I would not like to respond to one about concertina wire — because it's not going to be something good."

He is also giving an ultimatum to the federal government — remove the wire or there will be lawsuit, The Associated Press reports.

Garino told CBS Evening News last month that adding to the border wall, which his city has had for more than 20 years, would be ineffective.

"We need technology," he said. The U.S. military initially placed concertina wire along the top of the wall in November.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement to the AP that the additional layers of concertina wire were added on government property following a request for additional assistance. The CBP said the request was for "high-risk urban areas commonly exploited by criminal smuggling organizations."

Nogales, a city of about 20,000 people, is economically reliant on Mexican shoppers and cross-border trade. The AP reports illegal crossings in that area have dropped steeply in recent years.

First published on February 7, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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