/ Modified jun 15, 2018 3:22 p.m.

Family Separation; Black Hawk Border Tour; Arizona's Economy

Plus, how the Tohono O'odham Nation views its relationship with Border Patrol and challenges on the reservation.

Officials from the city of Tucson, Pima County and local tribes called for an end to a zero-tolerance policy on illegal immigration that has led to the separation of children from their parents. More than 100 local, state and national organizations have demanded the same from the Trump administration.

Rafael Carranza, a reporter covering the U.S.-Mexico border for The Arizona Republic, clarified how the policy is being enforced, including how it applies to immigrants seeking asylum.

Carranza explained that parents seeking asylum who cross illegally are separated from their children to face criminal prosecution. Families seeking asylum at the ports of entry have a legal right to do so, but could still be separated depending on available space in detention facilities.

"If they are being held in detention and there are only beds available at an adult-only facility, then obviously their children are not going to be taken with them," Carranza said.

Children separated from their parents go into the custody of Health and Human Services.

One week after Arizona 360 heard from Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch about the dangers agents face on the job, an agent was shot several times early Tuesday near the border community of Arivaca.

The Border Patrol invited Lorraine Rivera to tour areas of concern on board one of its Black Hawk helicopters, which are used to provide support to agents on the ground and conduct rescues in remote areas of the desert. Agents can find people in distress by tracing where a person called 911 from.

"The bottom line is saving lives. We're here to protect the country, but also to preserve life," Karisch said.

Fencing and infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico border divide the Tohono O'odham Nation, whose lands span both countries. It puts some of the problems around border enforcement on the tribe's doorstep. Leaders there refer to it as a "tri-national" issue.

A tour of the reservation offered Arizona 360 a look at the Nation's relationship with federal law enforcement.

"People often ask, "What is your relationship with the Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security?" I believe we have an OK relationship. I wouldn't call it great," Tohono O'odham Vice Chairman Verlon Jose said. "I believe there has been some opportunity for the Nation to be at the table."

The tribe's executive director of public safety Richard Saunders emphasized how more communication between Tohono O'odham police and agents has improved their partnership over the years.

Arizona's economy is forecast to grow, according to economists at the University of Arizona Eller College of Management. The college's second quarter economic outlook projects in 2018 the state will continue to add jobs, residents and income at a similar pace as last year.

Garrick Taylor, with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, reflected on Arizona's growth. He also discussed how new tariffs and NAFTA renegotiations could be detrimental to the state's trade industry.

We also got a better sense of how one company views Arizona's economic potential through Union Pacific's Dan Harbeke. The company has nearly 700 miles of track across the state and spent more than $200 million over the last five years to fortify that infrastructure.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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