KINGMAN - Arizona's new illegal immigration bill seems to have gotten the attention of Congress. Arizona's U.S. Senate delegation have introduced bills that would increase security along the border.
Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl introduced a bill May 6 with a plan to increase security along the border and cost more than $238 million. The bill is similar to a proposal Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer made last month.
If passed, the bill would increase the number of border patrol agents to 3,000 in the Yuma and Tucson areas. The federal government would have until 2015 to reach that number of agents. Agents would also receive hardship pay, similar to what members of the military receive. The Border Patrol and local governments in Santa Cruz, Pima, Cochise, Yuma, Pinal, Maricopa and Graham counties would received $35 million in federal funding for upgrades to multi-band radios. The radios would connect federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
It would also add a border patrol station to the Tucson area and look at possibly adding stations in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. Six new forward operating bases would be added along the Arizona border, and upgrades would be made to the existing bases. A permanent checkpoint would be added at Tubac, and two roving checkpoints would be added to the Tucson and Yuma areas. The fencing in the Tucson and Yuma areas would be tripled by the end of 2011. The Federal Emergency Management Agency would receive $100 million to help enhance security along the border.
McCain and Kyl are also asking for $50 million for the federal government to use unmanned drones, planes, and helicopters, and increase the number of mounted patrol agents to help monitor the border 24 hours a day, seven days a week.