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Arizona Lawmakers Push To Start Construction Of New Fence Along Mexico Border Despite Lack Of Funds

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NOGALES, AZ - A U.S. Army National Guardsman overwatches the U.S.-Mexico border on June 22, 2011 in Nogales, Arizona. The Pentagon recently extended the deployment of some 1,200 guardsmen who were deployed last year to assist with border security on the U.S.-Mexico border until September 30. Soldiers at Early Identification Team (EIT) observation posts in Nogales work 24 hour shifts, each taking turns resting for 4 hours during the night. The National Guard troops are strictly on surveillance du | Getty Images

PHOENIX -- Members of the Arizona Legislature's border security advisory committee want the state to begin building a mile of fencing along the border with Mexico even though it has raised only a fraction of the needed money.

The committee has raised just 10 percent of the $2.8 million needed to complete a mile of fencing. The ultimate goal is to build 200 miles of border fencing.

Construction could begin by the end of the year using private fencing companies, some donated supplies and prison inmate labor, Smith said. The project is meant to complement the federal government's border fencing program.

The Legislature created the committee in 2010 and tasked it with making recommendations to the governor about how to handle the border, and the fence project is one of its key goals. Members include Republican state lawmakers, county sheriffs and state department heads.

Despite the committee being charged with making security recommendations, none have been made since it began meeting in March 2011.

"I don't think we have enough info to make a recommendation," said co-chairman Rep. Russ Jones, R-Yuma. "There's so much technology that's important given the challenging terrain."

The committee also has failed to meet state law requirements that it file monthly status reports, and it hasn't met since April.

In November 2011 the committee submitted its first and only report to the governor, speaker of the House and Senate president, detailing the prior nine months of meetings.

Jones said they are looking into revising the law requiring monthly reports.

"Reporting once a month becomes cumbersome," he said. "We don't have enough new information to go through the bureaucracy."


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