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El Paso, Ciudad Juárez and Las Cruces are a region, one entity. The assertion grasps the remarkably obvious. Businesses in southern Doña Ana County and Juárez back up to one another. The Rio Grande, the nominal border between El Paso and Juárez, is often dry, posing little real barrier. Otero County and Alamogordo might be added with El Paso being the closest thing of size.
The region is complicated. Northern New Mexico, commonly clueless about the south, might not understand this. To say the region consists of three states (Chihuahua, Texas and New Mexico) and two countries (Mexico and the United States) oversimplifies. There are counties and municipalities, water districts and basins and who knows what else.
For a long time the region had an informal order, a result, I believe, of people adapting to do what is needed. The border area was more like itself than either country. The functional informality came under severe strain starting with the drug war of the 1990s and accelerating with the immigration paranoia after 9/11.
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