Pima County supervisor asks board to reconsider rejecting border-security grant

Pima County supervisor asks board to reconsider rejecting border-security grant


Sgt. Scott Lowing of the Sheriff’s Department helps a Border Patrol agent search a vehicle. Operation Stonegarden would pay for overtime for deputies patrolling remote areas.

Pima County Supervisor Ramón Valadez has asked that his colleagues reconsider a vote to reject a federal grant that encourages collaboration between the Border Patrol and the county Sheriff’s Department to improve border security.

Valadez, one of the three Democrats who voted Tuesday to reject the grant in a 3-2 party-line vote, now wants the Board of Supervisors to reconsider it at its Feb. 20 meeting.

Valadez said he was worried about the implications that accepting the $1.4 million grant could have in terms of immigration enforcement, but that he didn’t have the answers he needed on Tuesday when he voted to reject it.

Since then, he said he has gotten more information about the program and how it is used here.

Operation Stonegarden is a federal grant awarded to agencies along the border to help pay overtime and buy equipment to help address issues such as drug smuggling, human trafficking and illegal immigration.

The county has received Stonegarden funds for more than a decade. It is believed this is the first time the money was declined in Arizona, according to Sheriff’s Department officials and an Arizona Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman. 

Stay with Tucson.com and the Arizona Daily Star to read more about this story as it develops.

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