By Rafael Carranza | The Republic
Long before President Donald Trump promised to build a wall on the southwest border and make Mexico pay for it, Arizona lawmakers invited private donors to fund fencing for the state’s 372-mile-long border with Mexico.
Some predicted the state could raise as much as $50 million. But after an initially flurry of donations, the fund that lawmakers established in 2011 closed last year having accumulated less than $270,000.
It’s pocket change in the context of a massive infrastructure project.
For example, construction to replace 7.5 miles of landing-mat fencing with bollard-style designs in Naco last year cost U.S. taxpayers $35 million, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
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So legislators instead allowed Arizona’s four border county sheriffs to bid for the funds to use for enforcement along the border.
Cochise County was the sole bidder and has used the money for a “virtual fence.”