Arizona asks for donations to build a border fence

After soliciting funds for defending its SB 1070 immigration law in court, the State of Arizona is now asking for funds to build a border fence across its 378-mile border.

The website, buildtheborderfence.com, has received $113,460 in donations since July 20, ranging from $5 to $2,000, according to the Arizona Senate.

State Senator Steve Smith is sponsoring SB 1406, which would construct such a fence on the border. Smith hopes for $50 million in donations and to use inmate labor and donated supplies to build the fence. Fencing already covers about 650 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

There still are many logistical hurdles to building a fence. The border has state, federal, tribal and private land. The federal government has estimated the cost at $3 million per mile. Fencing covers about a third of the border already. Critics say that tightened border security doesn’t stop the flow of illegal immigration; it merely redirects it into human smuggling through border crossings.

A USA Today analysis finds that crime along the border is actually declining:

The analysis found that rates of violent crime along the U.S.-Mexico border have been falling for years — even before the U.S. security buildup that has included thousands of law enforcement officers and expansion of a massive fence along the border.

U.S. border cities were statistically safer on average than other cities in their states. Those border cities, big and small, have maintained lower crime rates than the national average, which itself has been falling.

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