OTR Interviews

Arizona Turns to the People Online for Help with a Border Fence -- and the People Respond

State senator seeks help online from the people to battle illegal immigration


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 25, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, full speed ahead. Arizona must be getting the attention of the White House with this one. As you know, Arizona lawmakers are taking matters into their own hands, collecting private donations to build fences along the U.S. border with Mexico. The state's website launched last month. How many donations so far? How much money raises and how many states are the donations from? Joining us is Arizona State Senator Steve Smith. Steve, how much money do you have so far?

STATE SEN. STEVE SMITH, R-ARIZ.: Thank you, first, Greta, for having me. It's a great pleasure to be here. We are closing in on $200,000 from mail-in and online. In the first 24 hours alone when the site up we received donations from people from all 50 states across the country. it's just unbelievable.

Even better news on top of that, I just got word that we received many donations from military men and women from U.S. military bases all over the world. It is just -- you have those brave men and women defending us, yet they still understand the battle we are fighting here in our country. For them to take their time and contribute, the support has been overwhelming. Almost 3,000 individuals have donated. It is just great.

VAN SUSTEREN: The military, I didn't know about the military. That's interesting. The fact that all the states have -- people from all the states, not the states themselves, but people from all over the country have an interest in this topic. Some have thought it is just Arizona's issue or Texas. People are interested in this.

SMITH: That's right. I tell everybody this is America's problem. It is not Arizona's problem. That's evident by a few facts itch first, -- by a few facts, first the 20 million in the country. But when you look at the drug and gang activity 35,000 plus deaths and murders on that border, but then the terrorist element that our own FBI director has testified to Congress he's very concerned about, it is America's problem. You are right. It is not just Arizona, Texas, New Mexico or California.

VAN SUSTEREN: How much do you need?

SMITH: We are trying to raise several million dollars. Great news today, an exclusive for your audience. The world's largest fence manufacturer, they've built many miles on the border themselves they are called beta fence. They are prepared to pledge and help with several miles of the fencing along that border. And it is great companies like that and it is great -- it's the will of the American people as we've seen that is if going to this project.

Remember, Arizona didn't ask to do this. This is the inaction of the federal government that we must do something about now. When you get great companies like this and you get the American people stepping up, and when you get the U.S. military fighting battles far away and everybody pitching in, we understand it is America's problem and we are getting all hands-on deck from all sectors.

VAN SUSTEREN: What I've been told it will cost about $50 million dollars. I don't know if that is the right number, but 1,300 miles you are seeking to fence. I'm curious, do you have a clue what a mile would cost?

SMITH: You will hear out there the Government Accountability Office puts it at $400,000 and up. When you have great companies like Beta Fence who is going to help us -- I don't want to say significantly, too much of an understatement. They are going to help us extraordinarily. Those numbers -- don't get blinded by those numbers that you hear in the press. We are going to be able to stretch those dollars a lot.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, we'll be watching. We'll check back in to see how your project is going. Thank you.

SMITH: Greta, I encourage your viewers to go to buildtheborderfence.com to please help. Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, senator.