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1/10: Arizona Proposes $100M Anti-Immigration Plan

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  • SIUHIN@aol.com
    National Immigrant Solidarity Network No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights! webpage: _http://www.ImmigrantSolidarity.org_
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 9, 2006
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      National Immigrant Solidarity Network
      No Immigrant Bashing! Support Immigrant Rights!

      webpage: http://www.ImmigrantSolidarity.org
      Arizona Proposes $100M Immigration Plan
      .c The Associated Press

      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 illegal immigrants.

      Napolitano also is asking the federal government to pay for more National Guard troops along the state's porous border with Mexico.

      ``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.

      Even though immigrants provide the economy with cheap labor, Arizona and other border states shoulder huge health care and education costs for illegal workers and their families.

      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.

      The 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.

      Thousands 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 government.

      ``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.''   

      01/10/06 00:06 EST
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