When I saw the following headline on MSNBC.com, Arizona launching fundraising website for border fence, I had to take a double take. I live in Arizona and I’m a second generation native. I know that the state is ground zero for the illegal immigration battle, especially since the controversial SB1070 went into effect last year. However, a public fundraising campaign to expand the border fence is surprising even to me, someone who is used to all of the immigration rhetoric floating around.
So here’s the plan. Put up a website, announce this new fundraising campaign, gather $50 million in private donations and use prison labor to help fill in some of the gaps in the current border fence.
According to the MSNBC.com article, there are already problems with the plan:
“Despite support from top state officials, the initiative is already facing problems. Private land owners and county sheriffs are skeptical that fencing even works and don’t plan on contributing, while the federal government may not even allow construction on its land.”
Obviously this process hasn’t been thought through very well. I’m surprised, in fact, that the state is making this such a prominent financial goal when there are so many other problems to deal with. The State Capitol was sold to raise funds and we now lease it, the state’s public education system continually faces funding cuts and some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, those with developmental disabilities, are facing significant cuts in services.
However, none of these issues warrants a public fundraising campaign with a goal of $50 million raised. My guess is that they aren’t as attention grabbing and controversial as the immigration issue. I know that there are people that will argue that if we could “fix” the immigration issues in this state then the funding issue will resolve but I don’t think a fence is anything more than a distraction - yet another unneeded distraction for the state.