Border zone extension could have shoppers bypass Tucson - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Border zone extension could have shoppers bypass Tucson

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Getting shoppers fromMexico to spend money in Tucson is huge for business in the city, but a changein law could allow those same shoppers to bypass the city and shop in Phoenix.

There has been a push inPhoenix by lawmakers to extend the border zone. This new law would allow visitors from Mexico to visit any part ofArizona that is within 100 miles of the border, without a visa. 

Many business owners inTucson believe this would allow shoppers to forget about Tucson and spend theirmoney in Phoenix. 

Currently the border zoneallows visitors from Sonora, who hold border crossing cards, to spend up to 30days in Arizona, as long as they are within 75 miles of the Arizona/Mexicoborder.  Tucson falls within that 75 milerange, where Phoenix does not, it is 25 miles further inland. 

According to Visit Tucsonorganizers, shoppers from Sonora and other parts of Mexico spend more than $1billion in Pima County each year. 

"That billion dollars isMexican shoppers that are crossing the border with money in their pockets,"stated Felipe Garcia, Vice President of Visit Tucson.  "It's going to our shopping centers to ourrestaurants, hotels, and leaving that money in our community."

The last time the borderzone was extended was in 1999, when it went from 25 to 75 miles.

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