Friday, November 25, 2011

Arizona solon collecting donations for border fence

Phoenix – Decrying what he terms as inaction by the federal government to secure Arizona's border with Mexico, a state senator has so far collected $225,000 in private donations to build a fence along the border.

He proposes to build the fence using prisoner labor paid at 50 cents per hour. Funding will come from a state-run website launched last summer to solicit donations from private sources.

Experts say the funds collected so far are about enough to erect a half-mile of the kind of barrier that would keep illegal immigrants from climbing over it and into the United States.

Senator Steve Smith, a Republican, says he doesn't care. Though the supplies to build a fence that covers the border from state line to state line would cost $34 million – about $426,000 per mile – Sen. Smith points to an effort to “show the world the resolve and the can-do spirit of the American people.”

A rival, former Democratic Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez, says “You're going to get 50 yards of fencing if that.”

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