Supporters of increased border enforcement now can help Arizona build its own fence along the Mexico border, reports the Arizona Republic. A new law went into effect today that allows the state to build the fence, as long as it can raise enough private donations and persuade public and private landowners to let it be done on their property. No other state has tried such a tactic.
Sen. Steve Smith, who sponsored the legislation, hopes to raise at least $50 million from donors across the nation. Supporters of the law want a consistent fence along the entire border that is solid, has multiple layers and is tall enough to keep out pedestrians. Smith said the effort also could include more high-tech security efforts. The state’s southern border is about 370 miles long. About a third of that, mostly in the western part of the state between Yuma and Nogales, has the type of fence lawmakers want. The rest either has no fencing or has fencing designed to keep out vehicles. A 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office said it has cost the federal government about $3 million a mile to build the type of fence that would keep pedestrians out.