September 5, 2005 in Nation/World

Immigration costs worry Arizona

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Tucson, Ariz. The cost of dealing with illegal immigration exceeds the emergency $1.5 million Gov. Janet Napolitano agreed to send to Southern Arizona, county officials say.

Citing security shortcomings by the federal government, Napolitano and Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico last month declared emergencies on their states’ borders with Mexico. That freed up emergency funds – a total of more than $3 million for the two states – for law enforcement overtime, for repairs of border and cattle fences and for costs related to illegal immigrants’ deaths.

However, officials of Pima, Cochise, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties said Friday that they likely will have to spend at least $5 million over the next six months to a year.

County officials hope that their huge immigration-related costs will convince the governor that she needs to take a step beyond her emergency declaration and ask the federal government to declare a national emergency.

Five children die in apartment fire

Carson, Calif. Fire roared through a two-story apartment Sunday morning, killing five children who were found in upstairs bedrooms, authorities said.

Three girls and a boy, ages 6 to 8, were pronounced dead at the scene, and a 10-year-old girl died at a hospital, said Los Angeles County fire Inspector Ron Haralson.

All the adults in the apartment, about 20 miles south of Los Angeles, escaped unharmed, he said.

It was not immediately clear how the fire started. Haralson said it was reported at 8:21 a.m. and was put out in less than 15 minutes.

Explosion at farm kills six children

Caledonia Township, Mich. A late night explosion blew apart a rural farm home, killing six young siblings who had been visiting from out of state and severely burning three other young people.

The blast Saturday leveled the two-story home and could be felt several miles away, said Shiawassee County Sheriff Jon Wilson. Foul play wasn’t suspected, but the cause was under investigation.

The victims were siblings, 2 to 19 years old. The injured, ages 7 to 18, were hospitalized in critical condition Sunday in Flint, said Detective Sgt. Kathy Taylor.

The children and teens had apparently been left at the farm home alone while family members were visiting another relative, Taylor said.

Maria intensifies, poses little threat

Miami Maria intensified into the season’s fifth hurricane on Sunday, growing stronger over warm water far out in the open Atlantic.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Maria had maximum sustained wind of 75 mph – only 1 mph higher than the threshold for hurricane status – and was centered 605 miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

It was moving north-northwest at 13 mph, and was expected to turn toward the north.

“On this track, Maria should remain well to the east of Bermuda and only pose a threat to shipping interests,” said Stacy Stewart, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center.

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