The state of Arizona is doing little to play down their controversial reputation on immigration laws. This week, the state got one step closer to passing a bill which would create and fund a volunteer armed militia to patrol the border for undocumented immigrants.
On Tuesday, the state's Senate Appropriations Committee passed a version of SB 1083, a law which would instate the "Arizona Special Missions Unit" with a yearly price tag of $1.4 million dollars to taxpayers. The bill, still in its early stages, would need to pass through the Arizona State House and Senate, and be signed by Governor Jan Brewer to become law.
The new bill comes less than two years after the passage of Arizona's controversial SB 1070, which requires police in Arizona to question people about their immigration status if they suspect an individual is in the country illegally.
The governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, argues that the federal government is not doing enough to secure the US-Mexico and she has been forced to take action at the state level.
She wrote in her recent book 'Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America's Border' that the people of Arizona were being "terrorized, robbed, and murdered by ruthless and desperate people who enter our country illegally."
At the height of the SB 1070 debate, however, Arizona had never been safer, even with the spike in undocumented immigration, The New York Times reported. FBI statistics indicated that violent crime actually fell to 447 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2008, compared to 532 incidents per 100,000 in 2000. According to the same report, property crimes also fell during the same period.
Although Governor Jan Brewer has not commented on her thoughts about the bill to fund a volunteer militia, in July of 2011 she signed into law SB 1495, a different bill in order to "free up the Governor of Arizona to establish the Arizona State Guard", in the words of the Arizona State Defense Force Foundation.
According to AZCentral.com, if passed, Arizona would be the only state currently funding a militia devoted to border enforcement.