Rep. Petersen Introduces Legislation to Advance Border Wall Construction on Private Land in Arizona

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Majority Leader Warren Petersen (R-12), along with 15 other legislators, have introduced legislation HB 2084 streamlining the construction of the southern border wall on state and private land. “It’s the federal government’s job to secure the border, and the citizens of Arizona are tired of waiting for Congress to act,” said Representative Petersen. “We’re fortunate to have a President that has made building the wall a priority, but he can’t do it all, particularly on state and private land.”

After critics raised concerns about the quality of a border wall constructed through a sort of do-it-yourself process free of the usual permitting process, Representative Petersen amended the bill the next day stressing the importance of safety by ensuring that private land owners file certification documentation that private border wall is built in compliance with all required engineering and safety standards. The affidavit would need the signature of a licensed engineer, certifying the wall was built according to plan and safety specifications.

“That’s why I’m introducing legislation allowing organizations to build portions of the wall without excessive government obstruction and red tape. The bill will create a presumption of permission to build the international boundary wall on state land, and it will allow private property owners who want the wall on their land to do so without city or county interference.”

“Private border walls must and will be built to safety standards,” said Representative Petersen.“Unfortunately, some of my liberal colleagues are saying a private wall cannot be built safely.In reality, some simply don’t want a border wall built at all.”Private property owners in Arizona could build their own sections of a border wall along the boundary with Mexico without needing any city or county permits if a proposal from a state lawmaker is approved.

The bill comes after a group called We Build the Wall began raising private funds to construct a section of border wall in New Mexico. The group drew attention and money to its work with the help of prominent figures, including former White House adviser Steve Bannon and baseball Hall of Famer Curt Schilling. Local officials temporarily brought work to a halt there last year when they found the organization did not have the permits ordinarily required to construct a wall more than six feet tall. The Gilbert lawmaker said he wants to avoid similar problems if a group undertakes such a project in Arizona.

Construction of the border wall must still adhere to federal law, such as environmental impact regulations, and the legislation respects the rights of private property owners. “While this problem won’t be solved without federal action, Arizona can help by enacting policies that allow streamlined construction of the border wall.” Representatives Nancy Barto (R-15), Leo Biasiucci (R-5), Frank Carroll (R-22), Regina Cobb (R-5), David Cook (R-8), John Fillmore (R-16), Mark Finchem (R-11), Travis Grantham (R-12), John Kavanagh (R-23), Becky Nutt (R-14), Kevin Payne (R-21), Steve Pierce (R-1), Bret Roberts (R-11), T.J. Shope (R-8), Jeff Weninger (R-17), and Senate Majority Leader Rick Gray (R-21) are original cosponsors of the bill.

Arizona shares about 373 miles of border with Mexico.

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