Arizona lawmakers this week launched a website to raise $50 million for a fence along the state's Mexican border designed to keep out illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. "Arizona once again has to do the job the federal government isn't," said state Sen. Steve Smith, a first-term Republican who sponsored the legislation. The site, Build the Border Fence, had brought in $80,000 as of Thursday, after just two days. Is this a creative solution to a pressing problem, or a politically charged publicity stunt?
Conservatives are turning Arizona into a laughingstock: What this "nearly bankrupt state" really needs is a creative way to pay for education and health care, says Estelle Gonzales Walgreen at Hispanically Speaking News. What we got instead: More proof that the "prehistoric and insensitive" Republican legislature has its priorities mixed up. Thank goodness there's not a fence around the whole state — "businesses and sane people can continue to flee."
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It's Washington's priorities that need straightening out: Arizona lawmakers are just "combating the neglect coming from Washington, D.C.," says J. James Estrada at The American Thinker. Congress and the White House can't be counted on to do the "will of the people" — they just squander resources on things taxpayers don't really want. "Our voluntary targeted donations may have to save the day until help arrives in November 2012."
This is just a distraction: It's no certainty that the federal government or private landowners would even allow Smith to erect his "Fence of Dreams" on their land, says E.J. Montini at The Arizona Republic. In any case, the fence is really just a diversionary tactic to "get everyone in Arizona fixated again on illegal immigration" so they'll forget about "more recent scandals and screw-ups" that have embarrassed the legislature.
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