Politics

Ariz. State Sen. Bob Worsley Wants $30 Million 'Virtual Fence' To See if Federal Government is Really Patrolling The Border

| by Allison Geller

Arizona State Sen. Bob Worsley has proposed a $30 million bill to install a “virtual fence” along the Mexican border, complete with watchtowers and cameras.

Worsley says the fence is necessary to keep citizens safe, Reuters reported.

"People in my state don't trust what the federal government is telling us when it comes to border security," said the Republican from Mesa. "This is a way to verify what we're being told."

The bill, which passed 4-3 along party lines in a Senate appropriations committee Monday, will now move on to the full Senate for approval. If it passes in the Senate, the House will then need to approve it before the governor can sign it into law.

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Some committee members objected to the hefty price tag, as well as the ethics of installing what Worsley called extra "eyes on the ground.”

"I'm not sure that it's a good, wise use of money just to tell the federal government, 'Ha ha we can see what you're doing and we don't agree with what you're doing,'" said Sen. Chester Crandell, Republican, during the debate.

"It's one thing to spend this kind of money ... to protect our citizens from smugglers and other criminals,” Crandell added. "But it seems that most of what you're putting here is just to observe to determine whether the federal government actually is telling the truth or not.”

Another Republican senator, Kelli Ward, also raised the privacy issue, though she voted in favor of the proposal.

"It seems like anybody and everybody can see anybody and everybody down there," Ward told the Associated Press.

With watchtowers equipped with radar and video cameras, anyone could access the border footage through a live internet feed.

Worsley said he is working with a Utah contractor to install a test unit in the Arizona capitol this week.

Sources: Reuters, Verde Independent, Associated Press