Arizona should treat Midwesterners the same as Mexicans

Opinion: Arizona can't handle recent and projected population growth. The solution? Close the northern border.

Greg Moore
Arizona Republic
An awkward gap is shown between shipping containers at the bottom of a wash along the border where shipping containers create a wall between the United States and Mexico in San Rafael Valley, Ariz., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.

To anyone considering moving to Arizona, find somewhere else to go. We’re full.

Seriously. (Well, as “seriously” as an opinion can be taken from someone who isn’t a demographer and didn’t bother to consult with one before writing this screed.)

We’re running out of water, our roads are getting congested and the cost of living is so high that tenants have to climb a beanstalk just to pay their rent. (Phoenix-area landlords put the “fee” in “fee-fi-fo-fum.”)

For a solution, I propose Gov. Katie Hobbs borrow some strategy from her Republican counterparts to keep all the northern invaders from Winnipeg, Chicago and New York from draining the resources of our fine state. (Don’t even get me started on the carpetbaggers from California and Washington.)  

Step 1: Demonize those who move here

Hobbs could first garner support by telling everyone that people that come from those places “have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime.”

(She shouldn’t go full Donald Trump by saying, “They’re rapists.” But she should add, as Trump did in his infamous 2015 campaign remarks that … “Some, I assume are good people.”)

She could add that we don’t want any nice Minnesotans, because we don’t do “nice” down here since everything from the plants to the weather can be deadly. Or that no matter how many people from Vancouver flock to the Southwest, we do not, have not and will not slide rocks across an ice rink and call it a sport.

Advocates welcome it:Hobbs to continue migrant busing program

From there, Hobbs would have the backing to pursue policies against invaders from Canada, the Midwest and Pacific Northwest that have been used against migrants from Mexico and Central America.

Kids in cages. Border walls that Michigan and Ohio have to pay for. And strongarming Utah, Colorado and New Mexico into setting up way stations that stop people from coming in as they please.

We lack the water to support new folks

If you think this is harsh, you must not realize that Lake Mead is a puddle and desalination is a long, long way from being cost efficient, but Arizona farmers are growing crops that would never make sense in the desert, like alfalfa for Saudi Arabia.    

As for residential water, it’s complicated; but already the city of Scottsdale has cut off unincorporated communities that sprawl outside its boundaries as water managers across the state and region are fussing over “acre-feet” and “general stream adjudications.”

The bottom line is that Arizona is the desert and doesn’t have enough water to support all the recent and projected population growth – which isn’t just coming from the south!

It’s been bad for traffic. Anecdotally, it seems like “snowbird season” gets longer every year, and it’s gotten to the point that the U.S. 60, Interstate 10 and I-17 are all in some phase or another of major construction projects while urban planners discuss the best way to close the loop on the long-simmering 303.

And while Arizona used to be considered an affordable place to raise a family, Phoenix has seen some of the worst inflation rates in the nation.

The playbook is already written for Hobbs

I’m no economist, and I didn’t even bother to interview one, because the problem to my untrained, but highly opinionated eyes is clearly migration at Arizona’s northern and eastern borders.

Hobbs should demand that Joe Biden build a wall and wag her finger at him on the tarmac when he gets off Air Force One, like former Gov. Jan Brewer did to Barack Obama.

If that fails, she should see whether former Gov. Doug Ducey’s shipping containers are available to build a wall of her own across the top of the state.

She should push for policy that separates families and puts kids in cages at the border.

She should support plans that would allow police to question the migration status of anyone they suspect of being from the San Francisco Bay Area or Seattle.

She should urge for election laws to be rewritten so that anyone lucky enough to get a home here has to pass a literacy and Arizona history test before they’re allowed to vote in our local elections.

In short, she should treat all the people flocking to Arizona from the north the same way Republicans have treated people coming to our state from the south.

Maybe that will get anyone considering a move to Arizona to find somewhere else to go. Because we’re full.

(And, no, I wasn’t born here. I’m from the Midwest. But we’re not talking about me. I’m one of the good ones.)

Greg Moore is an award-winning columnist and documentarian who has been a journalist in Arizona since 2011. As a member of The Arizona Republic's editorial board, he writes about myriad topics, including race, culture and being a dad.