Fulton antes border crossing funds

May 30, 2006 4:04 AM

While the lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have been debating methods of dealing with illegal immigrants, officials of Sunland Park, New Mexico have been looking for a way to establish a border crossing.

The big hangup, as is often the case in these matters, is money.

To the rescue, came racetrack owner and former Las Vegas gaming machine manufacturer Stan Fulton.

Fulton, who became the owner of Sunland Park racetrack when he sold his interests in Anchor Gaming, the slot machine manufacturing company that he founded in Las Vegas, offered to donate $12 million to his community in order to make the proposed border crossing possible.

Fulton said local officials asked him for a donation earlier this year, and that he agreed because a port of entry would be good for the local economy.

"It’s just being a good corporate citizen," he said.

The donation was not surprising to Las Vegas residents who remember Fulton’s philanthropic activities when he resided here. He made the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, possible with a $5 million donation.

In New Mexico, Rep. Mary Garcia of Las Cruces, whose district includes Sunland Park, said the donation gives the state a reason to begin talks with the congressional delegation and seek support from Mexican officials for funds to operate the port of entry from Mexico.

The crossing would be just west of Mount Cristo Rey, near a proposed New Mexico development planned by a group of investors form El Paso, Texas. Also, a large housing development already is under construction near the port on the Mexican side.

Fulton’s donation will be made in three parts, $4 million in each of three years.