Tuesday, May 3, 2011

AZ Governor Brewer signs bill that starts border fence construction

Phoenix, AZ--Governor Brewer has signed SB 1406 into law. Sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Smith, SB 1406 allows for the construction and maintenance of a fence along the Arizona-Mexico border. The legislation provides for an interstate compact, which will allow the Governor to work with other states to build and manage the fence. Additionally, inmate labor, at 50 cents/hour, will be used to construct the fence.
SB 1406 is a major new step in enforcing and ensuring border security. “The federal government has put states like Arizona on the back-burner for far too long, making flawed claims that the border has never been more secure,” says Sen. Smith. “Many in my district have seen the terrors of drug cartels, gang activity, death, and destruction of the land firsthand.”
With the Governor’s signature, Arizona will now be able to work with other states to build a fence that will significantly reduce the infiltration of illegal immigrants unlawfully crossing the border on a daily basis.
“For proof that a well-built fence really works, all you need to do is look at the progress in Yuma County ,” says Sen. Smith.  In 2006, Yuma built a triple-layered wall, standing 20 feet high and reinforced by cement-filled steel piping, steel mesh, and wire.
Wednesday, at a meeting of the Joint Border Security Advisory Committee, Yuma County Chief Deputy Leon Wilmot noted that before the wall was built, he responded to reports of robberies, smuggling, rapes, and killings on a daily basis. Since its construction, he relished in the fact that such reports now are almost non-existent.
Now, border counties will be able to see the same type of progress experienced in Yuma . A website will be launched and maintained by the Joint Border Security Committee, and through this website people can make donations that will go toward the construction of this fence. Its construction will be privately funded, utilizing the services of volunteers and inmate labor. According to Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan, there are currently about 6,000 prison inmates available and qualified for this kind of work.

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