PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Nearly 20 Arizona Republicans are pushing to make it easier to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. HB 2084 would allow nonprofit organizations to build what some are calling "wildcat walls" on private property without obtaining a permit from local governments. The proposal, which has already been filed ahead of the next legislative session, opens the door for nonprofit companies like We Build the Wall, which claims it has raised $25 million through a GoFundMe account for private construction.
The main sponsor of the bill, Rep. Warren Petersen of Gilbert, mentioned the nonprofit organization in a tweet over the summer. "I will be introducing legislation next session to make sure that @WeBuildtheWall can erect border walls on private property in AZ without impediment from state or local government," Petersen wrote on Twitter in June.
Just Monday, he tweeted about a call he received from somebody who owns property on the border saying they are "grateful" for his bill.
Got a call from someone who owns acreage on the AZ border. They are grateful for my bill to make building the border easier on private property!— Warren Petersen (@votewarren) January 6, 2020
Petersen was not immediately available for comment, but one Democratic lawmaker raised concerns that the GOP-backed legislation was written for a specific group. "I can tell you this that's the only nonprofit that I'm aware of that's raising funds to do this," said Rep. Diego Rodriguez, a Democrat from Phoenix. "And it's the same organization Mr. Petersen tweeted out about this summer."
Rodriguez also pointed out the organization has run into legal issues in other states like New Mexico and Texas, where it clashed with local governments over permits. In addition, Buzzfeed reported in August that Florida officials launched an unspecified criminal investigation against the charity.