border fence(by Paul Davenport, PHOENIX, [AP] – Arizona lawmakers want more fence along the border with Mexico – whether the federal government [builds it] or not.

[They would like to install a fence that would be more like this one (click here), than the one on the photo to the right.

They’ve got a plan that could get a project started using online donations and prison labor. If they get enough money, all they would have to do is get cooperation from landowners and construction could begin as soon as this year.

Gov. Jan Brewer recently signed a bill that sets the state on a course that begins with launching a website to raise money for the work, said state Sen. Steve Smith, the bill’s sponsor.

“We’re going to build this [web]site as fast as we can, and promote it, and market the heck out of it,” said Smith, a first-term Republican senator from Maricopa.

Arizona – strapped for cash and mired in a budget crisis – is already using public donations to pay for its legal defense of the SB1070 illegal immigration law. …..[The Obama administration is currently suing the State of Arizona to block the enforcement of the state’s SB1070.]

The nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border already has about 650 miles of fence of one type or another, nearly half of it in Arizona. The state’s 376-mile border is the busiest gateway for both illegal immigrants and marijuana smuggling. …..

State Corrections Director Charles Ryan said getting inmate labor to help construct border fencing wouldn’t be a problem.

Minimum-security prisoners already have been used to clear brush in immigrants’ hiding spots near the border and clean up trash and other material dumped by border-crossers, he said.

Work crews of Arizona inmates also have been used to refurbish public buildings, build sidewalks and construct park facilities.

At 50 cents an hour, “we are a relatively inexpensive labor force,” Ryan said. “If we have the funding to do it, we’re capable of doing it.”

Arizona’s existing border security fund is being used to pay for legal costs of defending SB1070 in court, though Brewer’s 2010 executive order creating the fund allows its money to be used for any “border security purpose.” A federal judge has blocked…key parts of SB1070, but Brewer [is taking] the case to the U.S. Supreme Court….

The fund through [May 4] has received nearly 44,000 donations totaling more than $3.7 million, collected online and through mailed donations since May 2010. Roughly half of the money has been spent, and Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said the balance is also needed for SB1070-related legal expenses.

Smith and other supporters of the border-fence legislation haven’t produced any cost estimates for the state project, saying only that the state should be able to do it far more inexpensively than the federal government. …..

Brewer signed the Arizona fence bill on April 28, and it will take effect with most other new state laws on July 20. …..

During committee hearings and floor debates, Republicans said the state has a legal and moral obligation to take action because the federal government hasn’t done enough to secure the border.

“My constituents want this thing fixed and fixed once and for all, and we’re going to do it,” Republican Sen. Al Melvin of Tucson said during a February committee hearing. “People should not be dying in the desert.” …..

Under the bill [SB 1406], the border fencing work could be done either in conjunction with other border states or by Arizona alone.

Smith said the committee will consider where to build the fence and what kind of fence is needed.

But the eventual choice could be like double- and triple-fence barriers already installed along the border in Yuma County in southwestern Arizona because they appear to block crossings, he said.

Any type of fence would require approval of landowners, but Smith said he expects that to be forthcoming from the state and private land owners, including ranchers who have complained of break-ins and other trouble associated with smugglers and illegal crossings.

Individual ranchers likely will cooperate with the state fencing project, just as they have done with federal officials on placing helipads, watering stations and communications equipment to help officers patrolling the border, an Arizona Cattle Growers Association official said. …..

Copyright ©2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. The information contained in this AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of the Associated Press.  Visit for the original post.


1. a) Arizona Governor Jan Brewer just signed a bill into law [SB1406]that will allow Arizona to raise funds for, and then build, a fence on the Arizona border with Mexico. How does the state propose to raise the funds, and then afford to build the fence? [Read about SB 1406 under “Background” below the questions.]b) This bill proposes using prison inmates to work on the border fence construction. Many inmates prefer to do a day’s work rather than sit in prison all day. Conservatives would generally support this idea. Liberals would generally oppose the idea of using inmate labor. What do you think?

2. For what reason is the state of Arizona currently soliciting public donations?

3. a) How long is the U.S.-Mexico border?
b) How many miles of the border are in Arizona?
c) What is significant about Arizona’s border with Mexico?

4. a) How much money has been donated to the Arizona government in the past year to defend SB1070 against the federal government’s lawsuit?
b) What do you think would cause a citizen to donate money to the Arizona government to defend itself against the federal government’s lawsuit?

5. a) When debating the border fence bill (SB1406), Republican Senators said the state has a legal and moral obligation to take action because the federal government hasn’t done enough to secure the border. Do you agree or disagree? Explain your answer.
b) Ask a parent the same question.


NOTE:  Federal law says that any alien who:
1) enters or attempts to enter the U.S. at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers,
2) eludes examination by immigration officers, or
3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the U.S. by a willfully false or misleading representation

is guilty of improper entry. For the first commission of the offense, the person is fined, imprisoned up to six months, or both, and for a subsequent offense, is fined, imprisoned up to 2 years, or both (8 U.S.C. § 1325). from

Arizona’s SB1070:

  • Arizona’s Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act [Senate Bill 1070 or Arizona SB 1070] was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010.
  • 60% of Arizonans support the law.
  • Requires officials and agencies of the state to fully comply with and assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws and gives county attorneys subpoena power in certain investigations of employers.
  • Establishes crimes involving trespassing by illegal aliens, stopping to hire or soliciting work under specified circumstances, and transporting, harboring or concealing unlawful aliens, and their respective penalties.
  • The law was scheduled to go into effect on July 29, 2010.
  • The federal government has sued the state of Arizona, challenging the constitutionality of the law.  Before even reading the law, President Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder, of the Department of Justice, was considering a lawsuit against Arizona.  He asked the court for an injunction against enforcement of the law.
  • The day before the law was to take effect, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that blocked the law’s most controversial provisions.
  • Arizona has sought, unsuccessfully to date, to reverse that decision in the federal appeals courts.
  • Governor Brewer announced in May 2011 that Arizona would take their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read the explanation of SB1070 at

Arizona’s SB1406:

  • Arizon’a Border Fence bill SB1406 was signed into law by Governor Brewer on April 28, 2011.
  • It will take effect on July 20, 2011 with most other new state laws.
  • The law allows the governor to enter into an interstate compact to create a border fence along the Arizona-Mexico border located on private, state or federal property if permitted.
  • It permits the state to construct the border fence if the governor does not enter into an interstate compact.
  • It includes a provision that the state develop a funding mechanism to construct and maintain the border fence through private or public donations from whatever source which is to be administered by the organization.
  • It includes a requirement that a state employ inmate labor and services as well as private contractors to construct and maintain the border fence.

Read the explanation of SB1406 at

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