Arizona Won’t Wait For Washington

Washington Post

Arizona has long been one of the busiest gateways for immigrants trying to sneak into the country, and some lawmakers believe it’s time to dispatch state police squads to catch illegals who slip past border agents.

The notion is gaining political traction as the public’s frustration about the state’s porous border with Mexico grows. Over the years, it was often resisted by officials who claimed illegal immigration should be the sole province of the federal government.

A state lawmaker has proposed a plan that includes $20 million for the Arizona Department of Public Safety to run a 100-member squad to operate surveillance equipment, construct border barriers, target drug and immigrant smugglers and perhaps patrol the border.

‘I’m not putting the handcuffs on. Whatever they need to do, they need to be doing,’ said Republican Rep. Russell Pearce, the plan’s sponsor.

A different plan by Gov. Janet Napolitano would have two state police squads focus on immigrant smuggling cases. Both plans offer millions of dollars to communities to tackle illegal immigration, and money for combating gang-related border crime.

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