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Donations for Arizona border security sit in treasury

(AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)

(AP Photo/Guillermo Arias)

The Arizona Legislature’s border security advisory committee is working on a plan on how to use $275,000 in contributions it has gathered.

The Arizona Republic quotes Republican state Rep. Steve Smith from the community of Maricopa as saying the Legislature’s Joint Border Security Advisory Committee is working on a plan and expects to get started within a few weeks. He wouldn’t say what the plan will be.

State law requires that money raised for this fund be used to “construct and maintain a secure fence” along the Arizona-Mexico border.

One of its primary goals was to raise private funds to construct more secure fencing along the border with Mexico, particularly in the eastern part of the state.

There are more than 200 miles of Arizona border the committee would like to better secure with fencing. The federal government has spent about $3 million a mile to build the type of fence that the committee members want.

No fences have been erected as part of the state effort. The committee hasn’t approved any construction work.

Since fundraising began in 2011, private donors have given $275,250 to the fund, according to state treasury records. The last donation to come in was $335 in February. The committee has spent $10,366 on mainframe software, $881 on office supplies and $86 on postage and delivery expenses.

Smith last year said the committee would not wait to raise enough money to build all the desired fencing but would begin the first mile. He said they would be able to build at a much lower cost using inmate labor and donated supplies from some supportive private companies.

Members of the committee are some of the Legislature’s most vocal critics of how the federal government has handled border security over the past several years.

Since the committee began meeting in March 2011, it also has yet to make any recommendations on border security. It met once in 2012 and has not met this year.

The committee has failed to meet state law requirements that it file monthly status reports. It filed a 2012 annual report in January consisting of a little more than a page explaining the laws that created the committee and one paragraph listing the groups that spoke during the committee’s single 2012 meeting.

The committee has had numerous groups and individuals give presentations about challenges along the border.

The panel also has created a website and twice visited the border. 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