Arizona lawmakers may not have a reputation as rocket scientists (smart Arizonans know better than to waste time and effort in government), but this time they've come up with a stroke of genius: a solution to the battle over border control that should satisfy all parties. Who could object to a virtual virtual fence? No, I didn't stutter.
Faced with a lack of enthusiasm for the expense involved in a measure to install a chain of high-tech towers intended to monitor border crossings, Sen. Bob Worsley (R-Mesa) settled for mandating the fence, but providing no resources for its actual construction.
According to Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services:
PHOENIX—A Senate panel voted Tuesday to set up a "virtual fence' along the U.S.-Mexico border—but provided absolutely no cash to do that.
The 8-1 vote came after Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, realized he could get no traction for his original proposal to spend $30 million to build a network of 300 towers, each equipped with cameras and radar. So the scaled-back version, HB 2461, simply authorizes the virtual fence—and delayed until next year the question of whether Arizona taxpayers will actually pick up the tab.
That's right. Senators voted for tough border surveillance of the sort to please immigration warriors, but with the low price of nothing sure to charm fiscal hawks. Open border advocates will, of course, be happy about the lack of actual fencing provided by the virtual virtual fencing measure.
If only lawmakers elsewhere would adopt this sort of can-pretend-to-do attitude, the rest of us would have so much less to worry about when legislatures met. We could either applaud their firm intent, or their merciful lack of follow-through, depending on our inclinations.