Brewer signs bill authorizing construction of privately funded border fence

PHOENIX - Governor Jan Brewer signed into law Monday morning a bill authorizing the construction of a border fence between Arizona and Mexico.

The bill, SB 1406, permits Arizona to work with other border states in constructing a privately funded border fence, hailed as a major step in enforcing national security.

"The federal government has put states like Arizona on the backburner for far too long, making flawed claims that the border has never been more secure," said Sen. Steve Smith, sponsor of SB 1406. "For proof that a well-built fence really works, all you need to do is look at the progress in Yuma County."

In 2006, Yuma built a triple-layered, 20-foot-tall wall, reinforced by cement-filled steel piping and wire. Yuma County Chief Deputy Leon Wilmot said reports of robberies, smuggling, rape and killings have decreased significantly since the wall's construction.

A website will be launched immediately by the Joint Border Security Committee and be used to gather donations in order to fund the construction of a border fence.

Volunteers and inmate labor will be used to construct the fence. According to a report, there are currently 6,000 prison inmates available and qualified to assist in building the fence.

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