Posted on August 17, 2005

Mesa Lawmaker Calls for Border Fence

Howard Fischer, Arizona Star (Tucson), Aug. 17

PHOENIX — A state lawmaker believes Arizonans are so frustrated with illegal immigration that they’re willing to raise fees — and possibly tax themselves — to build a fence along the state’s southern border.

Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, is drafting a measure to ask voters next year to spend the money to erect a climb-proof fence wherever possible from Yuma to east of Douglas.

Pearce acknowledged Tuesday that he doesn’t know the price tag. A similar fence erected by federal officials near San Diego cost about $1.7 million a mile; the Arizona border stretches for about 350 miles.

But Pearce said he believes stemming the flow of people crossing the border illegally will end up saving Arizonans far more than what the state spends for health care, education and prison costs on illegal entrants.

He also thinks money can be raised by taxing transfers of money by people to their families in other countries.

Arizona can’t legally build a fence right on the border, which is federal land. But Pearce said it could erect it along the southern property lines of individual landowners.