Arizona lawmakers advance $30M ‘virtual fence’ proposal for US-Mexico border

February 18, 2014

Border - MexicoFox News, 2/18/14

An Arizona House panel on Monday gave initial approval to a plan to spend $30 million to install 350 miles of “virtual fence” along the state’s southern border with Mexico. The plan approved by the House Government and Environment Committee would place high-technology radar and video sensors on 300 towers along 350 miles of the border to monitor human and drug-smuggling activity. The sensors would send signals to a publically accessible site and could also be monitored by law enforcement agencies.

The proposal from Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, would use radar sensors about the size of a cereal box that could monitor 250 acres each. Mounting the sensors on towers paired with solar power units and a camera would allow Arizona to implement a “trust but verify” policy as to the federal effort to secure the border, Worsley said.

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Arizona lawmaker seeks $30M ‘virtual fence’ near US-Mexico border

January 29, 2014

Border - MexicoFox News, 1/29/14

An Arizona legislator wants the state to spend $30 million for a high-tech surveillance network near the U.S. border with Mexico. Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, said the “virtual fence” consisting of 200 radar-camera units would monitor cross-border movement by people and vehicles to see if the federal government keeps its promises to secure the border.

Under Worsley’s bill, the new surveillance system would be erected within 20 miles of the border. Funding for the project also could include the approximately $260,000 in donations that the state has already collected under previously enacted legislation for an as-yet-unbuilt border fence, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

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Homeland Security chief says border security is a priority

January 23, 2014

border3Arizona Daily Star, 01/22/2013

The new secretary of homeland security stressed alertness along the U.S.-Mexico border, but during his first official visit to Southern Arizona he did not address recent cartel-related violence in Sonora.

“We have to remain vigilant in the face of evolving challenges to border security,” Jeh Johnson, homeland security secretary, said during an afternoon stop at the Customs and Border Protection building on South Swan Road.

He said border security is a priority along with making sure the agencies he oversees remain open to using new methods.

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Broad immigration reform long overdue for U.S. – Op ed

January 13, 2014

immigration marchAZcentral, 01/12/2014

As a state and as a nation, as Republicans and as Democrats, we are ready for immigration reform.

Today, at the beginning of a new year, we are closer to real immigration reform than we have been in a generation. As a former Arizona attorney general, I continue to urge Congress to move forward on reform.

Law enforcement is always about prioritizing, and, for obvious reasons, protecting victims and aggressively pursuing those who commit violent crimes must be our top priority.

But our broken immigration system undermines our ability to do both of those things.

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Will Arizona soon see a lot more shoppers from Mexico?

December 5, 2013

Nogales

The Christian Science Monitor, 12/5/2013

On any given day, city residents here wait in long lines to cross the border and shop for bargains in Arizona. Gaby Medina is one of them. She visits the stores in Nogales, Ariz., at least twice a month to look for deals on clothes, which she says are often less expensive than in the border state of Sonora, Mexico.

Earlier this week, she filled several plastic bags with tops she bought for herself and relatives who lack a visa to visit the United States. Come January, Ms. Medina may head to the United States more frequently, she says. That’s when Mexico’s new sales tax will take effect, increasing to 16 percent from 11 percent in Mexico’s border cities and towns.

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Legislative border security committee yet to make recommendation on fence

November 7, 2013

barbed wire fenceAZ Central, 11/06/2013

After three years of meetings and public testimony, a state legislative border security committee has yet to make a single recommendation.

Tuesday, they were scheduled to decide how to spend $264,000 in donations that has been idling in a state trust fund, but lacked a quorum to actually cast what could have been the committee’s first vote. The money was intended to help the state start building its own fence along the Arizona-Mexico Border, but such a fence has cost the federal government $3 million a mile.

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Arizona bid to build 1 mile of border fence appears dead; local sheriffs may receive money

November 6, 2013

The Washington Post, 11/6/2013

Border fence by couchlearnerA plan by Arizona lawmakers to build a mile of fencing along the border with Mexico using private money may be declared dead Wednesday, more than three years after border security proponents crafted the proposal.

The Arizona Legislature’s border security advisory committee will take up the issue when it meets for the first time in more than a year. The main backer has given up on the state fencing plan and hopes to transfer the money to border sheriffs, said Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista, the co-chair of the committee. Stevens said Rep. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, realizes enough private money to get the job done can’t be raised.

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Economy must be factor in immigration debate, border mayors say

November 5, 2013

Border Fence Arizona and MexicoArizona Daily Star, 11/05/2013

Whether the U.S. House is going to take up immigration reform this year is still an open question, but elected officials from the border region want to make sure the economy is part of the conversation.

Nearly 200 people gathered Monday night in an auditorium at the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind on West Speedway for a dialogue about immigration reform.

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Want to diversify the economy? In a word: Mexico – Op Ed

October 10, 2013

welcome to Arizona sign state lineArizona Local News, 10/09/2013

One lesson that I hope Arizona has learned from the Great Recession is that we cannot continue to create jobs and generate wealth purely on real estate.

Perhaps the best way to ensure sustainable growth and job creation is to diversify the economy. One way to diversify our economy can be summed up with one word: Mexico.

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Faith-based groups push for immigration reform

September 30, 2013

The communities migrants leave behind

Arizona Daily Star, 9/28/2013

Faith communities across the nation are relying on marches, books and multistate radio ad campaigns to launch bigger and bolder efforts to push for comprehensive immigration legislation this year.

“Our nation can no longer wait,” reads an e-postcard for members of Congress posted on the Justice for Immigrants website — the Catholic campaign for immigration overhaul.

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