Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Police report gives account of events prior to incident

Sierra Vista Herald
March 30, 2011
by Derek Jordan

SIERRA VISTA — More details about the events leading to the pursuit and shooting death of a 19-year-old Douglas man have come to light after the Douglas Police Department released a report on the incident

At about 12:10 p.m. on March 21, Douglas Police Officers were notified that an anonymous caller had reported a gold-colored Chevrolet Avalanche that had just been loaded with marijuana bundles on Van Buren Avenue before leaving the area eastbound on 8th Street, according to the report.

Officer Marcus Gonzalez came into contact with the Avalanche after witnessing it cross 13th Street on B Avenue. Following the vehicle, the officer saw only one occupant, the driver, later identified as Carlos La Madrid.

Gonzalez continued to follow the vehicle and was eventually joined by other officers as the Avalanche turned south onto Avenue D from 14th Street, where it began to accelerate, the report states.

The officer then activated his emergency lights and sirens, after which the Avalanche “began completely disregarding stop signs and speeding away in an attempt to elude police.”

During the pursuit, the vehicle ran a number of stop signs and drove through the Clawson Elementary School zone at an estimated 45 m.p.h., according to the report.

Gonzalez slowed his speed at these points but never lost sight of the vehicle.

The Avalanche eventually continued onto Cochise Avenue southbound into the desert area until it reached the International Border Road.

Here, Gonzalez saw a marked U.S. Border Patrol Chevrolet Tahoe approaching Cochise Avenue eastbound from the border road, and “saw the Avalanche turn slightly west on Border Road and collide with the Border Patrol Tahoe,” the report states.

At this point, the report goes on to say that the officer saw two men standing on top of the border fence near a ladder leading up the fence from the U.S. side, while a third man on the ground on the Mexican side of the fence passed rocks up to them.

La Madrid then exited the Avalanche and ran toward the ladder and began to climb it.

Gonzalez parked his vehicle before reaching the border road and, before getting out of the vehicle, “saw one of the male subjects atop the fence throw three rocks/bricks at the Border Patrol agent as he was exiting his vehicle. Two of the rocks struck the Border Patrol Tahoe’s windshield (narrowly missing the Border Patrol Agent) and the third missing everything altogether,” the statement reads.

While this happened, the second man on top of the fence reached down and grabbed La Madrid’s wrist “as if to try to help him get up the ladder faster.”

Gonzalez then saw the Border Patrol agent draw his sidearm and fire three shots, followed by La Madrid and the man who had grabbed him falling from the fence and to the ground.

The second man on top of the fence returned to the Mexican side and fled the area in a two-door silver hatchback vehicle, while the third person on the ground on the Mexican side left in an unknown direction.

Paramedics were called to the scene as Douglas Police and a Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) detective carried the wounded La Madrid behind Gonzalez’s vehicle.

The second suspect, who is not identified in the report, was secured and also placed behind the vehicle.

First aid was provided to La Madrid by a GIITEM detective and Border Patrol agent until Douglas Fire Department paramedics arrived and transported him to the Southeast Arizona Medical Center.

On Monday, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, the lead agency investigating the incident, reported that a second person, Jesus Manuel Chino Lino, 17, was also in the Avalanche at the time of the pursuit.

Chino Lino has been taken into custody and is charged as an adult with possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the sheriff’s office.

When reached for comment Tuesday night, Carol Capas, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said she could not immediately verify if the second suspect mentioned in the Douglas Police report was Chino Lino. She did, however, say that she was not aware of any additional suspects that may have been apprehended.

The Douglas Police report indicates that an officer saw a “large burlap sack with shoulder straps in the rear bed area of the avalanche” after the vehicle was moved away from the border fence.

The sheriff’s office reported that 48.2 pounds of marijuana was found inside the vehicle.

While en route to a Tucson hospital, La Madrid’s condition worsened and he was rerouted to the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

Chino Lino remains booked in the Cochise County Jail.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Patrol shot man as he scaled fence to Mexico: sheriff's office

March 28, 2011
by Tim Gaynor

A man shot and killed by the U.S. Border Patrol in southern Arizona last week was attempting to scale the border fence and cross into Mexico, a sheriff's department spokeswoman said on Monday.

Cochise County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Carol Capas said an agent shot 19-year-old U.S. citizen Carlos La Madrid on March 21 as he attempted to climb the border fence in the city of Douglas, in southern Arizona, and cross into Mexico.

The incident began after La Madrid had fled south toward the border fence in a pickup truck carrying a 48-pound load of marijuana. He then attempted to cross into Mexico using a ladder placed against the north side of the fence.

"He did get out of the vehicle and was climbing the ladder at the time the shots were fired ... He was struck three times and grazed once," Capas told Reuters.

An initial report said the agent shot the driver of the vehicle after being pelted with rocks.

Capas said rocks were being thrown from the fence "by at least one subject" at the time of the shooting. although there was "no indication" that the assailant was La Madrid.

Mario Escalante, the U.S. Border Patrol's spokesman for the Tucson sector, declined to comment, saying the investigation was being conducted by the FBI.

FBI special agent Manuel Johnson, meanwhile, said he could not comment on the Cochise County Sheriff's Office statements, as "our investigation remains ongoing."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Residents see need for more patrols along barrier

Brownsville Herald
March 27, 2011
by Laura B Martinez

If the objective of the border fence is to stop illegal immigration, then the fence isn’t working, some area residents say.

What does help deter illegal crossing, they maintain, is the presence of U.S. Border Patrol agents. But these same observers claim they are seeing fewer agents and wonder if that’s partly because of the fence.

Furthermore, the border near the Southmost area once was well lit with the spotlights used by the Border Patrol but now is often dark, they say.

Pamela Taylor, 82, and her daughter, Michelle Moncivaiz, are among those who have always opposed construction of a border fence.

Now that they have lived with the fence for a time and have some experience, they say it has not deterred immigrants from crossing onto their property and, if anything, they are seeing even more people than before.

“Our biggest concern is that the Border Patrol is not going to get enough money and we are not going to get enough agents on the ground here,” said Taylor. “We need more people here.”

Daniel Milian, supervisory Border Patrol agent, said there are about 520 agents stationed in Brownsville, with 260 of those agents working out of the Fort Brown station, the one in charge of patrolling the area where the two women live.

“No agents have been let go or anything like that,” Milian said. “We are still out there.”

As for the spotlights, Milian said the agency moves them for several reasons: when they are needed in other areas, when they are requested for use by other entities, and when they are sent for maintenance.

Construction of the border fence in Cameron County began in 2008 and is largely completed. Work continued earlier this month near downtown Brownsville.

Moncivaiz echoed the sentiments of her mother about the value of the Border Patrol and her concern about budget cuts.

“They need the funding,” she said of the Border Patrol. “We need the boots on the ground, and we need to make sure the cameras across the field work. ... They are very valuable to us, especially at night.”

Moncivaiz said she thinks the infrared equipment used when it is dark is essential to helping agents be “where they need to be.”

“Without that, they are like blind,” she said.

Seeking answers

Those who own property near the Rio Grande have varying opinions about the fence. Farmer Rusty Monsees says he always supported it, while Taylor and Moncivaiz have tried from the beginning to voice opposition.

The women say no one listened to them when they tried to speak up and that they weren’t allowed to talk in any of the meetings when plans were being.

Taylor said she sent letters to the Obama administration and, earlier, to the Bush administration asking for help. She said she wrote to federal, state and local officials but received no answers.

“People tell you write to your representatives, but what for,” added Moncivaiz. “It is frustrating. We are not looking for a hand-out.”

The women say they are still trying to inform others.

“People up north have no clue what a sham this (fence) has been. It has been a waste of their tax dollars, and it’s affecting their kids’ education, their parents’ social security and their health care,” Moncivaiz said.

Cuellar weighs in

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, says the local community is right to voice concerns. He agrees that the fence was not the most efficient way to secure the border.

“I certainly agree with the locals in saying that the most cost-effective way in securing that border is more security at the border, more personnel and more technology,” he said.

Cuellar said the estimated cost of each mile of fence is about $7.5 million, and he believes the federal government would do better to spend money on technology, which could cost about $1 million per mile.

He strongly opposes the estimated $350 million in cuts recommended for border security funding. Not only would it affect the Border Patrol but programs such as Operation Stonegarden, which provides grants to the sheriff’s department for border operations, he said.

“Of course we have a deficit budget issue and we need to have deficit reduction, but we’ve got to be smart on how we cut. ... When you cut $350 million from border security, are we saying that the border is not a priority for our budget?” Cuellar said.

“I am glad some of the local folks in the Brownsville and Cameron County area are saying this. This is what we have been saying,” he said.

No man’s land

Taylor lives about 208 feet from the Rio Grande just outside Brownsville. People call it “no man’s land” because her home, which she has lived in for decades, sits behind the border fence.

The property value has probably declined because of the fence, but Taylor says she is more concerned about security.

Next to her property, a couple of deflated inner tubes lie discarded. Black plastic trash bags that were tossed aside likely held the clothes of some undocumented immigrants, Taylor said.

Recently, she and her daughter caught someone trying to break into their home. Nearby, the Border Patrol apprehended a group of undocumented immigrants who had crossed the river.

“Every time we call, the Border Patrol has responded. We don’t have a gripe,” Taylor said.

The sound of helicopters has become more common, and Moncivaiz sometimes calls the Border Patrol to make sure the chopper belongs to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and not to Mexico or possibly one of the drug cartels.

The family has felt the need to take more precautions to protect their property, and Moncivaiz says she worries when she is not at home.

“They poisoned our dog,” she said with a sigh.

In favor of the fence

Monsees, the farmer who also lives by the border, said some of his pets have been killed and that his home has been shot at several times.

He is not as concerned about the average undocumented immigrant as he is about drug smugglers and people linked to the drug cartels.

“I’m not worried about the gente, the people. I never have been. They never bothered me. … What we are dealing with is a different breed. They have no respect for their own family. You are not dealing with the same individual that sells candy at the bridge in Matamoros,” Monsees said.

Tired of the situation at his home, Monsees has decided to fight back. He has posted signs in his front yard warning people that if shot at, he will shoot back.

Monsees said he is being targeted because he calls the Border Patrol every time he sees illegal activity occurring on or near his land.

Defending one’s home

The Brownsville native has lived on the family farm for some 57 years. He says he is not going anywhere and will defend his home at any cost.

“This is my place. I refuse to cower to them. I am not going to do like they do in Mexico and run and hide,” he said. “If they want to tangle with me face on, fine. … If I get killed in the process, I am defending my land. That is my right.”

Cuellar said it should not get to the point where residents have to protect themselves when the federal government should be doing it.

“I can understand that frustration,” Cuellar said.

Taylor and Moncivaiz respect Monsees’ right to voice his opinion, but they believe he could be putting his neighbors at risk should he try and take the law into his own hands.

“We do have problems, but all we want to do is live here and enjoy our home,” Taylor said, adding that people should be careful about what they say.

“There is some information that really shouldn’t be put out there,” Moncivaiz added.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mock border wall blocks Mall

Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 22, 2011
by Brenna Goth

UA clubs are trying to raise awareness about border issues by disturbing students' daily routines.

The club No Más Muertes/No More Deaths erected a barbed-wire fence running nearly 1,000 feet along the south side of the UA Mall on Monday. The project, titled "Wall to Wall — Concrete Connections/Conexiones Concretas," will remain in place until March 31.

The wall represents the border between the United States and Mexico as well as the wall between Israel and Palestine on the Palestinian West Bank, according to Gabriel Schivone, coordinator of No Más Muertes/No More Deaths and former Daily Wildcat columnist. The focus is on these two areas because they are funded by the United States, he said.

The wall is decorated with informational posters, signs with phrases such as "One World Unbordered," and items including backpacks and gloves. Some students may be inconvenienced by the wall when trying to cross the Mall and walk to class.

"(We are) wanting to create a crisis on campus to force the community to confront the issues that are so easily ignored and create a space to discuss these issues," said Schivone, a UA student studying English.

No Más Muertes/No More Deaths raised money through grants, departmental donations and private donations to pay for the project. Campus organizations including the Women's Resource Center, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Social Justice League also sponsored sections of the wall.

"(The funds) actually came from our poor pockets," said Daniel Curiel, vice president of No Más Muertes/No More Deaths. "It's something we're passionate about and think it's an educational thing."

Planning for the wall began about eight months ago, according to Schivone. The idea came from the 300-foot wall erected by Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs a few years ago, he said.

Schivone said No Más Muertes/No More Deaths created the mock border with the idea that these walls dehumanize people and separate communities.

"We don't have to (represent both sides of the issue) and we didn't," Schivone said. "All of the allies are opposing the wall in general and barriers of all sorts."

Schivone said he thinks awareness of border issues is low on the UA campus.

"Nonetheless, I think people would care and are compassionate," he said. "If presented with this information, I think they would act."

The disruption created by the wall will help inform students, said Curiel, a junior studying history and political science.

"It's right smack-dab in the middle," he said. "Some people will be upset and bothered by it because they have to walk around. But (the border is) a reality people live with."

Avoiding the wall when walking to class will be irritating after 10 days, said Kaitlin Morris, a pre-physiology freshman.

"I have to walk around," she said. "I always cut through the grass. I'm lazy."

Morris said she read the posters after seeing the wall and thinks it is important to raise issues surrounding the border.

"People can say whatever they want," she said. "They always have stuff out here (on the Mall)."

Biosystems engineering junior Maria Guzman said she has visited the border between the United States and Mexico and thinks students already know about the issues.

"Everybody's aware in Arizona," Guzman said. "We're close to the border. If you're not aware, you're living under a rock."

The wall will continue to be decorated with items and information throughout the next 10 days. Schivone said he hopes students' frustration will cause them to take notice.

"It may be irritating, inconvenient and disruptive to daily life, but that's what walls do," he said.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Some Residents Say Border Fence Has Been Ineffective

March 21, 2011
by Manuel de la Rosa

BROWNSVILLE - Some residents living near the border fence say it hasn't stopped human and drug smuggling.

Joel De La Garza runs a grocery store on Oklahoma Street. He has owned it for several years. De La Garza used to see immigrants on a daily basis. Now, he rarely sees them because of the fence right in front of his business.

"We do see some of them but not as many as we used to before the wall went up. The reason why they aren't coming is the opening is quite far away from here," says De La Garza.

Many residents we spoke to see immigrants backpacking with what is believed to be drugs. It's usually at dawn or early in the morning. Law enforcement officials say drug smugglers are doing this due to the security at the border.

The border fence was supposed to slow down human and drug trafficking. The Border Patrol reports they aren't catching as many immigrants.

Federal authorities say there is proof in the numbers the wall is working. Residents who are on the front line don't see it the same way.

When the gates are installed, it may change the smuggling efforts, but for now, these residents say the smugglers have adapted to the border fence.

Negative effects of border fence studied

Brownsville Herald
March 20, 2011
by Jacqueline Armendariz

The U.S.-Mexico federal border fence negatively affects minorities disproportionately, a study recently published by local university professors found.

The environmental effects of the fence on the people of the region, something little focused on amid the heated political debate surrounding it, was investigated by University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College professors Jude Benavides and Jeff Wilson.

"We do not want to speculate as to the intent of the government on where it was placed but the results are clear: the wall is in the backyard of those who would be least equipped to negotiate," Wilson, an environmental science professor, said. "This region suffers from extreme poverty and low education. The wall, given its placement, seems to exacerbate the undue burden that our already overburdened local community is trying to overcome."

The findings, published in the 2010 edition of the annual journal "The Southwestern Geographer," found that groups like Hispanics, those with low income and people who are foreign born, were most affected by the fence in Cameron County.

With the combination of the Secure Border Fence Act of 2006 and another 2008 appropriations bill, the federal government was set to construct about 700 miles of barrier, about 315 miles of which is in Texas with much of it on private land, the study said.

"It was an issue literally in our backyard," Benavides said in a press release. "No one was doing these types of studies, which would have been part of an environmental assessment study."

The research itself took place in 2007 and found Cameron County had one-third of the proposed fence gaps, more than any other Texas county, the study said.

Meanwhile, the government encountered significant resistance, the study said, some calling the fence’s placement "arbitrary."

The government was not forthcoming on its method to determine where the fence would go, so much so that eventually a lawsuit was brought against the Department of Homeland Security and Corps of Engineers to get the latest data, Wilson said.

He said researchers suspect the disparities may have been widened with the fence’s current location compared to its proposed location.

"Obviously, the groups more in position to negotiate are going to be the ones with greater means and educational qualifications," Wilson said.

UTB-TSC itself filed a civil lawsuit against DHS when it was proposed the fence run through the university’s property. The two entities reached a compromise in August 2008.

Benavides and Wilson collaborated with several other academic entities on the study, including the University of Texas at Austin’s Working Group on Human Rights and the Border Wall and the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

Currently, Wilson said, he and his fellow researchers are analyzing the final location of the fence compared to its planned location to find any changes in disparities.

Future research is in the planning stages regarding the deaths of undocumented immigrants in Arizona and California border regions in the context of the fence’s construction, he said.

The fence has pushed undocumented immigrants further into remote locations where water and shelter are not readily available, which results in more deaths, Wilson said.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rep. Hunter proposes more border fencing

San Diego Union-Tribune
March 15, 2011
by Elizabeth Aguilera

A bill introduced in Congress today could lead to an additional 350 miles of fencing along the southwest border and would require the Department of Homeland Security to report to Congress when apprehension activity climbs 40 percent year over year, if it is approved.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, authored the bill, titled “Unlawful Border Entry Prevention Act,” in response to a Government Accountability Report that found 44 percent of the southwest border is under “operational control” and 15 percent is totally secure. The legislation is co-sponsored by Republicans Brian Bilbray, Solana Beach, Ed Royce, Fullerton, and Ted Poe, Texas, and North Carolina Democrats Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre.

“Despite considerable gains in recent years, the Southwest border is nowhere near secure,” Hunter said. “This not only presents a significant risk to U.S. national security, but also undermines the safety of communities on both sides of the border.”

The bill would need approval in the House of Representatives as well as the Senate and the signature of President Barack Obama to become law.

Hunter's bill also requires Homeland Security to report to Congress if apprehensions increase 40 percent from one year to next in any given sector along the southwest border. The report must include a plan for gaining “operational control.”

Apprehensions are at an all time low across the southwest border, an indicator, officials say, of increased security and a decrease in attempts by people to cross illegally. Last year Border Patrol reported 463,000 apprehensions, a decrease of 36 percent over the previous two years.

The GAO report “Preliminary Observations on Border Control Measures for the Southwest Border,” released last month, found the Border Patrol has various levels of control along the border and responds best to unlawful activity after illegal entry into the U.S. is made and not on the immediate border.

The government’s analysis found that of the 873 miles Border Patrol reports are under operational control about 129 miles are classified as controlled. More than half of the southwest border is “managed,” which means response to activity occurs after illegal entry. The southwest border encompasses nearly 2,000 miles.

In San Diego nearly 90 percent of border miles are under “operational control,” according to the report. Yuma reported 100 percent operational control and Tucson and El Paso reported around 70 percent operational control. Marfa, Del Rio, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley reported less than 40 percent of operation control, according to GAO.

As of Dec. 2010, 649 miles of pedestrian and vehicle type fencing has been erected. DHS was required to identify the fencing locations prior to Dec. 2008.

While the GAO report is accurate, according to Border Patrol officials, it does not take into account collaborations with other agencies on both sides of the border. It also uses limited definitions of terms created for personnel but not necessarily for outside review or understanding, said Deputy Chief Ronald D. Vitiello at the time the report was released.

Vitiello said the terms in the report such as “operation control” are internal measures and may be misunderstood by those outside the agency. Operational control as it is defined by Border Patrol involves: detection of persons crossing the border, identification of the person, classification of the level of threat, respond and resolve.

The GAO also outlined a plan by the Border Patrol to revamp how it assesses outcomes in an effort to make the terms more universal. There will be a gap in reported outcomes next year while the system is being re-purposed, according to the report.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Border tunnel found east of Calexico

San Diego Union-Tribune
March 9, 2011
by Susan Shroder

A rudimentary tunnel possibly used to smuggle drugs from Mexico into the United States was found about 2 1/2 miles east of the Calexico Port of Entry, federal officials said Wednesday.

“It’s not a significant tunnel,” said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.

The tunnel was found by Mexican authorities, she said. It extends under the border fence about 10 feet into the U.S.

It apparently tapped into underground drainage pipes designed to handle water overflow from a reservoir in Mexico, she said. The reservoir is about 80 yards from the border fence.

Mack said that the entrance to the tunnel in Mexico was hand dug.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Arizona Seeking Pacts With Other States to Defy Federal Government

Arizona Republic
March 9, 2011
by Gina Rough

Arizona lawmakers are working to create alliances with other states on controversial issues such as health care, immigration and firearms regulation in a growing effort to challenge the authority of the federal government.

The push to form interstate compacts, which have the power to supersede existing federal law if approved by Congress, is part of a broader effort at the Arizona Capitol to promote states' rights.

Lawmakers have introduced bills that seek to limit congressional spending and federal authority on issues from elections to environmental inspections, and Gov. Jan Brewer lists federalism as one of her top priority initiatives this term.

So far this session, Republican legislators have introduced more than a dozen bills that propose to create compacts, about three times as many as lawmakers introduced in each of the past two or three years. Among them are measures to allow participating states to build a border fence, regulate endangered species without federal interference and set up their own health-care programs.

Most of the bills are working their way through the legislative process.

Even if the House and Senate pass the measures and the governor signs them, Congress would still have to approve them - and other states would have to pass similar legislation.

Critics question the point of the bills and the motivation of the lawmakers promoting them.

"Right now, Arizona is the epicenter for a lot of - and I am trying to be neutral here -innovative strategies for voicing displeasure with federal law," said Greg Magarian, a constitutional-law expert at Washington University in St. Louis. "I have to believe the primary motivation here is political. You pass this and then essentially dare Congress to invalidate it."

Magarian said that it is unlikely that Congress would be willing to sign off on compacts that would essentially give the states a broad range of powers.

"You can't just snap your fingers and make federal law go away," he said.

How it works
The power to form interstate compacts, which are essentially contractual agreements or treaties between participating states, comes from Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution.

The "Compact Clause" essentially prohibits states from banding together and issuing their own currency, keeping troops and engaging in certain other activities without the consent of Congress. But, in recent decades, states have used the clause to create agreements to take control of a host of issues not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, such as water regulation, waste disposal or power use.

Nick Dranias, director for the center of constitutional government at the Goldwater Institute, said there are about 200 interstate compacts throughout the country, with the average state participating in about 25 agreements. Arizona, for example, is part of the Colorado River Compact, a 1922 agreement among seven Western states that regulates use of the river's water.

The new push to use compacts, however, is as a means to directly challenge the authority of the federal government. Proponents of states' rights believe the federal government has, in recent years, overstepped its boundaries by suing Arizona over its immigration law and decreeing that all individuals must carry health insurance.

They typically turn to the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as their legal basis for challenging the federal government. It states that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Compacts are a way of returning control over those issues not specifically delegated to the federal government back to the states, said Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, chairwoman of the Senate's Border Security, Federalism and States Sovereignty Committee.
Allen, the primary sponsor or co-sponsor on several of the compact efforts, said she introduced the bills because "the proper balance" needs to be restored between the states and the federal government.

"The states aren't able to do anything anymore," she said. "We aren't able to do the things we need to do for our citizens."

Arizona's efforts
Two of the measures introduced in this year's session are slated to have hearings in committee today.

The House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee is expected to discuss Senate Bill 1406, which authorizes the governor to enter an interstate compact to build and maintain a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border.

And the House Health and Human Affairs Committee is expected to hear SB 1592, the health-care compact bill. It proposes an interstate alliance in which states would be responsible for managing and regulating health care within their own borders.

The Senate has passed other bills, including measures to regulate the Mexican gray wolf, but the House still needs to hold committee hearings.

Allen and other lawmakers said they have been in contact with or are working with other states to try to drum up interest in the agreements.

But some measures are having trouble gaining traction in other legislatures.

The compact that has the most momentum is the one that seeks to challenge the new federal health-care law, Dranias and others say.

Seven states, including Arizona, have introduced legislation to regulate their own health care.

The compact would give member states authority to set up health plans and requirements as they sees fit. If participating states received congressional approval for the compact, constitutional experts believe it would supersede requirements in the recently passed federal health-care bill, including a mandate that every individual have health insurance.

Dranias said he believes the compacts could be a powerful mechanism for returning some powers to the states. "This allows states to combine forces to reduce the size and scope and intrusiveness of the federal government."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Feds spending $41 million on new Nogales fence

March 2, 2011

NOGALES - The federal government is putting down $41 million to tear down 2.8 miles of border fence near Nogales and rebuild a higher, deeper "bollard"-style fence.

There will be increased security along that section of the border while the fence is torn down, Nogales Mayor Arturo R. Garino says.

Mayor Garino views the project as a revitalization effort - the new 18-foot fence will help secure the area around the city as it will be higher and deeper in the ground.

Residents are also in favor of the new fence - a Nogales resident of 45 years says he thinks the project will improve the image of the city.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Feds announce plans to rebuild border fence

ABC 15
March 1, 2011
by Anthony DeWitt

NOGALES, AZ - With immigration issues heating up in Arizona, the federal government has announced that it will begin rebuilding a stretch of border fence in the southern part of our state.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Tuesday that construction to replace an estimated 2.8 miles of outdated primary-pedestrian fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border would begin in mid-March.

This border fence is adjacent to the city of Nogales, and when rebuilt will reportedly strengthen the security of the southwest border in the Arizona Tucson Sector.

According to a news release from the CBP, the new project will replace “landing mat” fence originally constructed in 1994 and will be replaced with a new 18-foot “bollard fence” on either side of the DeConcini Land Port of Entry.

Landing mat fencing is 10-foot metal fencing that has become obsolete in recent years, because it easy to cut through with a power saw and it completely blocks views on either side, according to Popular Mechanics . The science publication also reported on Bollard fencing, saying that it features large concrete-filled tubes placed close together. It is common to see a simple version of bollard fencing in front of office buildings and shopping malls.

CBP officials said that the new fence has the potential to deflect immigration in these areas by raising the height of the fence and forming a stronger foundation. The project is scheduled to be completed in September 2011.

CBP has completed a total of approximately 650 miles of pedestrian and vehicle fence along the Southwest Border out of the 652 miles mandated by Congress according to a CBP news release.