PHOENIX — The construction of a border wall in Arizona came to a halt within weeks of President Biden taking office. But as record numbers of immigrants and smugglers enter the U.S., Republicans in the Arizona Legislature want to finish what former President Donald Trump started. This week, the state Senate passed a bill seeking up to $700 million to build a wall.
"Since we have purview over approximately 17 miles of the wall, this money would be appropriated to build that," said the bill's sponsor State Senator Wendy Roger (R) Flagstaff-District 6.
When you do the math, it adds up to about $41 million a mile. That's approximately twice the cost of what the Trump Administration paid to build the border wall. That's too expensive for Governor Ducey.
"We're negotiating now with the legislature on physical barrier where Arizona can build that I'm confident we'll be able to get those resources," Ducey said.
The governor's budget proposal includes $50 million for the state's border security fund. Much of the money will go toward building a wall. There is also hope the federal government will offer support. Earlier this month the federal government gave surplus panels to the state of Texas to help with its border wall construction. Governor Ducey is hoping the Biden administration will dedicate resources for surveillance on the Tohono O'odham Nation which extends into Mexico. On a recent visit to Yuma, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas promised to close gaps in the wall around Yuma.
On Thursday, the Arizona House passed its own $150 million border wall construction bill on a party-line vote. Whatever is finally negotiated will end up in next year's budget.