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Pima County Rejects $1.8 Million In Federal Immigration Funds

The Pima County Board of Supervisors in Southern Arizona voted last week to reject $1.8 million in federal immigration funding under a program called Operation Stonegarden.

It was a controversial decision that came after much debate, with immigrant advocates arguing that the money was used to make Pima County Sheriff’s Deputies act as immigration agents and to target immigrant communities and communities of color.

But it came against the arguments of the sheriff himself — Mark Napier, who said the funds have been essential to his department’s mission of protecting public safety for more than a decade.

Ryan Kelly is an organizer with the People’s Defense Initiative in Tucson. He told The Show that in using Operation Stonegarden funds, the sheriff’s department directed its energy to serving the needs of the Department of Homeland Security and not the people of Pima County.

On the other side of this debate is Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier. The Republican law enforcement veteran has long approached the issue of border security as one of public safety for his county. And that’s the same argument he made when The Show caught up with him to talk more about this.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.