By Corinne Murdock |
Both the Arizona House and Senate passed bills this week to supply hundreds of millions for Arizona to finish construction on its portion of the border wall.
On Wednesday, the Arizona House passed along party lines State Senator Wendy Rogers’ (R-Flagstaff) SB1032, appropriating $700 million. Rogers estimated during the Senate Appropriations Committee that the amount would cover the approximately 17 miles of construction that remains.
“This is our chance to continue to protect ourselves because we aren’t having this built by the federal government and since we have purview over approximately 17 miles of the wall, this money would be appropriated to build that,” said Rogers.
Then on Thursday, the Arizona House passed its version, HB2317, along party lines on Thursday. State Representative John Kavanagh’s (R-Fountain Hills) bill appropriates $150 million in 2023 to finish the border wall. Kavanagh relayed during the House Appropriations Committee hearing some data given to him by Border Patrol: the number of crossings reportedly quadrupled over the last year.
“The border is in chaos and it’s out of control. The Border Patrol, besides needing more personnel, would be helped by some physical barriers which do in fact stop crossers, or at least funnel them, making the area that needs to be patrolled smaller,” said Kavanagh. “I think it’s a reasonable investment in Arizona’s security and safety.”
Passage of the bill comes weeks after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) projected that the border crisis would only worsen this year. This prediction concurred with the latest data on border crossings from Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
According to a report from AZ Free News this week, border patrol encountered almost 154,000 illegal immigrants crossing the border in January — the highest in over 20 years — with a low estimate of over 504,600 “gotaways” since President Joe Biden took office.