Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake took to Twitter this week to taunt President Joe Biden with her vow to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. But it is not clear how Lake, should she be elected governor, would fund such a project.
Lake, a former television news anchor, is running to replace the state’s current Gov. Doug Ducey, who is term-limited. Trump took special interest in Arizona after Ducey and other Arizona election officials did not back his unfounded claims of election fraud. Lake, his chosen candidate in the race, did back those claims.
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On Twitter, Lake backed another of the former president’s pet projects by vowing to complete his unfinished border wall.
On her campaign website, Lake says she is “committed to finishing the wall” and says, as governor, she would “direct the Arizona National Guard to deploy along the border and assist Border Patrol for as long as it takes to get control of this disaster.” Lake adds she would also call on sheriffs to “deputize Arizonans” to enforce state directives.
The Arizona Capitol recently called promises to build the wall by Lake and her primary rival Matt Salmon “iffy,” noting there are “seriously thorny details” a governor seeking to build a wall without federal backing would have to consider.
As a candidate for president, Biden said that “there will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration” and halted construction after he took office. However, the Department of Homeland Security said this month that it plans to close “small gaps that remain open from prior construction activities and remediating incomplete gates.”
Under the previous administration, the lowest estimates for the project in Arizona came in at about $9 million per mile. The state has a budget of about $13 billion. Lake, should she become governor, would need the cooperation of state legislators to divert funds to the wall’s construction, and those plans would likely be challenged by the federal government.
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The call echoes one made by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who this month unveiled approximately 900 feet of additional border wall on state-owned land. According to the Texas Tribune, about 21 miles of new border barriers were constructed on the 1,254-mile Texas-Mexico border during the Trump administration. The state has not made clear its plans for how many more miles of barriers it intends to construct, nor how it will fund them.
In 2016, Trump pledged to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border that Mexico would pay for. Although the wall became a rallying cry for some of the former president’s supporters, those plans did not come to fruition during his administration.