Arizona lawmaker calls for border road to thwart illegal immigrants

| 12/2/2005

In an effort to stop the flow of illegal immigrants entering the U.S., an Arizona state lawmaker wants to build a $6 million road along the state’s border with Mexico. The road would be closed to the public.

Rep. Doug Quelland, R-Phoenix, said if there’s a road along the border, U.S. Border Patrol agents would be able to turn back groups before they enter the country.

Once they cross the border, Quelland said illegal immigrants are afforded certain rights that waste the time of agents and taxpayers’ money, The Associated Press reported.

He recently filed a bill asking the state to spend about $6 million on a road that would stretch from Douglas to Yuma.

The road would be a lane-and-a-half wide and would also be used to deliver medical assistance quickly to those in need, Quelland said.

“This not just me being an ultraconservative, or whatever you want to label me,” Quelland told The AP. “This is also about me being a humanitarian.”

Dozens of illegal immigrants die annually in Arizona’s remote desert regions after making the trek across the border.

The bill would prohibit the state from building the road on Indian reservations, military bases, federal land and private property without the owner’s consent.

Mike Albon, a spokesman for the U.S. Border Patrol Local 2544, told the news agency the proposed road would do little to thwart illegal crossings.

He said federal agents can stop anyone attempting to cross the 481-mile long border, but eventually anyone who wants to get in will.

HB2003 is awaiting consideration during the regular legislative session that begins in January.