Arizona: Please Donate to Help Build Border Fence

Gov. Jan Brewer signed bill launching the plan
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2011 1:20 PM CDT
The porous US-Mexico border fence stretches through the Sonoran Desert on January 18, 2011 in the Tohono O'odham Nation, Arizona.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – If the federal government won't complete Arizona's border fence, then gosh darn it, the state is going to do it itself. Arizona lawmakers have a plan that would get the fence built using online donations and 50-cents-an-hour prison labor, and Gov. Jan Brewer recently signed a bill setting the plan in motion, the AP reports. If the money comes in and landowners cooperate, construction could begin this year. Of the 650 miles of fence currently in place along the US-Mexico border, nearly half is in Arizona, which has a 376-mile border.

"We're going to build this site [for online donations] as fast as we can, and promote it, and market the heck out of it," says state Sen. Steve Smith, who sponsored the bill. He adds that donors could possibly receive certificates stating that they "helped build the Arizona wall." Supporters of the bill haven't given any estimates as to how much they need to raise, but the federal government has previously estimated a cost of $200,000 to $15.1 million per mile. The state is already using public donations for another border-related purpose: defending its controversial illegal immigration law in court. (Read more border fence stories.)

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