by Jim Nintzel
Republican Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Thomas has unveiled his border-security plan. It includes a wall that stretches across the state—and it appears big chunks of Southern Arizona will be left on Mexico's side of the wall. Howie Fischer reports:
The majority of the land along Arizona’s 376-mile border with Mexico is controlled by the federal government and Native American reservations, primarily the Tohono O’odham Nation. Thomas said fencing along the border is the ideal scenario, but acknowledged that he may not be able to get federal and tribal permission to put fencing on the land they control.
If he can’t get permission, Thomas said he would use a “fallback line,” which would fence off areas further north, along the border with federal and tribal land.
“And we will build the fence as necessary here to funnel the drug and human trafficking network up into an area that is much easier to corral and to control. With a combination of troops and fencing, we can get that job done. This is what it’s going to take,” he said.
In some areas, the fence would actually be about 200 miles north of the Mexican border. Thomas said checkpoints would monitor road traffic through the fenced-off area.
Thomas denied that his fallback line would wall off a substantial chunk of southern Arizona.
“They’ll be able to get through, through roads,” he said. “If you’ve driven along the border, there already are checkpoints. So really what you’re doing is to the extent that we have to move farther north, that’s what we’d be doing.”