Arizona Capitol

State Senator Steve Smith Meets With Governor Jan Brewer to Discuss Harebrained Scheme to Build "Border Fence" Several Miles From Border

Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation earlier this month to create a state border fence with Mexico.

The bill she penned, sponsored by Maricopa Republican state Senator Steve Smith, does not designate Arizona tax dollars for the project. Instead, it's up to Smith to raise private donations for construction.

He met with Brewer earlier this week to chat about building the fence, according to press reports, and already the project is running into several hurdles.

Most land on the border is owned by the federal government, which is unlikely to allow private contractors to begin building a fence on their property, especially since President BarackObama recently stated the border fence is "basically complete."

So now Smith wants to raise donations for a border fence several miles north of the Mexican border.

That might not even be the most cockamamie part of it.

To build the fence several miles north of the border, Smith plans on asking ranchers in southern Arizona to allow the state to build its fence on their acres, according to the same report in the Arizona Republic.

Ranchers, of course, make their living off their land. And they have enough to deal with on their property without a fence cutting it up.

Illegal immigrants crossing over their ranches create a number of problems, which we reported on in a feature last summer. But it sounds ridiculous to suggest ranchers are going to give up their farmland for a fence that won't keep anyone out anyway.

That's exactly what Smith suggests Arizona is going to pursue.

The law will go into effect July 20. Smith plans to begin soliciting donations for his not-quite-border fence then.

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Gregory Pratt
Contact: Gregory Pratt