Arizona Proposes $100M
Immigration Plan By JACQUES
BILLEAUD .c The Associated
PHOENIX (AP) - Gov. Janet
Napolitano on Monday proposed spending $100 million in state money to fight
illegal immigration, including a crackdown on businesses that intentionally hire
Napolitano also is asking the federal government to
pay for more National Guard troops along the state's porous border with
``We are going to step up and protect our citizens when
the federal government fails them - but this is a federal problem, and we expect
the federal government to do its part,'' Napolitano told lawmakers on the
opening day of the Legislature.
It was not immediately clear how much the
added troops would cost the military. A Defense Department spokesman declined to
comment on the status of the state's request.
Arizona, the busiest
illegal entry point along the country's southern border, serves as a hub for
smugglers who transport illegal workers across the country.
immigrants provide the economy with cheap labor, Arizona and other border states
shoulder huge health care and education costs for illegal workers and their
Public pressure is mounting for state politicians who face
re-election races this year to confront the problem, even though immigration has
long been considered the sole province of the federal government.
state already has about 170 National Guard troops stationed at the border,
assisting federal and state officers.
Napolitano provided few details of
her other immigration plans, but proposed ``substantial fines and penalties''
for businesses that intentionally hire illegal immigrants.
gathered Monday outside the Capitol to protest what they said was an
anti-immigrant sentiment at the Legislature, which last year considered two
dozen immigration proposals. Only a few became law.
Elias Bermudez, chief
organizer of the protest, said putting more money into border enforcement won't
fix the problem, which he believes can be overhauled only by the federal
``Our people are not going through the fences (at the border)
because they don't want to come here legally,'' Bermudez said. ``They are going
through the fences because this country doesn't have the law that allows them to
come through the port of entry.''
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