Howard Fischer, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), Jan. 10, 2006
PHOENIX — Gov. Janet Napolitano wants $100 million to help deal with illegal border crossers, expanded use of the Arizona National Guard and sanctions against firms that hire people not here legally.
The Democratic governor, in an election-year State of the State speech, called for a multi-pronged approach to illegal border crossers, both those who come for temporary work and those who intend to stay.
Her border proposals were greeted warmly, if a bit sarcastically, by Republican legislators who said they’re glad Napolitano finally realizes the significance of the problem and that state action is needed.
Senate President Ken Bennett pronounced himself “pleased almost to the point of being ecstatic.” Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, who has been at the forefront of efforts to deal with illegal entrants, suggested a political motive. “I’m glad she can read polls,” he said.
Gubernatorial press aide Jeanine L’Ecuyer brushed aside the Republican comments. “All this talk about who came to the table first — at this point it doesn’t matter,” she said.
Napolitano’s $100 million proposal matches exactly the figure Republicans proposed last week for border issues. How each side plans to spend the money, though, remains unclear.