Pima County Supervisors Approve Federal Border Enforcement Grant Renewal

Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 9:37am

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to continue receiving a federal border law enforcement grant offered by the Homeland Security Department. 

The board listened to county residents for more than two hours, most imploring it not accept about $2 million in Operation Stonegarden funding from the Trump administration.

Conor Welton addressed the board. 

"Operation Stonegarden is not a question about national security or public safety, it’s a question about fear," said Welton.

Welton like others, don’t want the county to take the grant because of hardened border enforcement directives from Washington, D.C., such as families separated at the border.

Andrew Bellow, a rancher south of Tucson.

"I’m pretty easy going but when someone messes with my security and my neighbor’s security to prove a political point, I get upset."

He contended that the board accepted Stonegarden funding since it was first offered a dozen years ago and only now contests the funding.

Sheriff Mark Napier argued many other law enforcement in southern Arizona have accepted the money.

"We'd have to argue that all these other municipalities and jurisdictions are somehow prolifically racist in their acceptance of the funds. I reject that. i know the people involved and I don’t accept that at all," he said.

The supervisors rejected the money last year. They voted 3-2 to accept it this time, but specified some of the money will go toward investigating vandalism of water stations for migrants in the desert. Some of the funds will also go toward providing aid for asylum seekers dropped off in Pima County.

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