Arizona has an extra $1 billion, and it is burning a hole in the Legislature’s pocket. Of course, we can’t use ANY of it to fully fund public education or help the poor by expanding Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.
Heck no! This is Arizona. Let’s throw $900 million at Border fence construction and related Border security projects.
HB2506 (Rep. Ben Toma) would create a Local Immigration Enforcement Fund and appropriate $30 million in nonlapsing funds into it. This fund would reimburse county and local law enforcement agencies that help with Immigration and Customs Enforcement duties. A federal fund already exists for this purpose. The creation of a state fund will allow double dipping by law enforcement along the Border.
HB2552 (Rep. Gail Griffin) would appropriate $20 million for construction of a new Cochise County Detention Center. Griffin primarily gave federal crime examples as justification for these funds. If they will be housing federal detainees, the feds should pay for this facility.
HB2317 (Rep. John Kavanagh) and SB1032 (Senator Wendy Rogers) both appropriate funds to a Border Security Fund for construction of a Border fence. Kavanagh’s bill asks for $150 million, and Roger’s bill asks for a whopping $700 million.
Border security is a federal issue. I voted against all of these bills. I think the Arizona Legislature should invest that $900 million on projects that benefit the people of Arizona — instead of wasting it on federal projects. All of these bills are still in play. Please give them a thumb’s down on Request to Speak (RTS). Even if the bills are not on an active agenda, you can voice your opinion using the My Bill Positions function on RTS.
UPDATE: All of these Border projects are in the FY23 budget. Together, they received roughly $500 million. As of August 2022, Governor Doug Ducey has started filling in the gaps of the Border Wall with used shipping containers! Yuck! When we debated the Border Wall funding in 2022 and the “Build Your Own Border Wall” go-fund-me project in 2021, I joked about the lack of planning and the potential for an ugly hodge-podge of wall/fence styles scattered around in the desert. I hate being right sometimes, but I never thought they would stoop to something as ugly to scar the desert with as used shipping containers. By the way, the 2021 bill was part of the We Build the Wall nationwide scandal. Former Trump aide Steve Bannon has been charged with money laundering, conspiracy, fraud, and other charges regarding his handling of the We Build the Wall donations.