Tuscon, AZ – An Arizona county board rejected $1.4 million in federal funds that it had received for more than a decade to help cover the costs of securing the border because it would require cooperation with federal authorities under the Trump administration.
The federal money covers the costs of overtime, mileage and equipment for the sheriff’s department and encourages collaboration between the county and federal agencies, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
The federal dollars come from a program known as Operation Stonegarden.
The Arizona Daily Star reported a public outcry over the sheriff’s department being linked to the separation of families at the border and children being taken to immigration detention facilities across the country.
County Supervisor Ramon Valadez blamed President Trump’s administration for the destruction of confidence in local law enforcement and said the President’s “aggressive actions” toward immigration was the reason for the mistrust, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
County Supervisors Sharon Bronson and Richard Elias also voted to terminate the contract. County Supervisor Ally Miller did not attend the meeting.
The three county supervisors who voted to reject the money are all Democrats.
County Supervisor Steve Christy was the only one to vote to keep the federal dollars. Christy said a small group of activists was dominating the debate.
“You do not represent the total feelings or desires of Pima County residents or even come close to representing a majority of our citizens,” Christy said to the audience, according to the Arizona Daily Star. “How many different ways does (Pima County) Sheriff (Mark) Napier and other law enforcement agencies have to affirm that the Pima County Sheriff’s Department does not and will not enforce federal immigration laws?”
Sheriff Napier said he was deeply disappointed by the vote, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Sheriff Napier said he may have to close remote officers without the federal money.
"I still fully intend to cooperate with our federal partners, we have a great relationship," Sheriff Napier said, according to Fox News. "To turn your nose up at this funding is just really unthinkable.”
Sheriff Napier said that one of the county supervisors said what changed over the last 12 years the county has accepted the money was “Washington, D.C.”
"If we've accepted this grant money for the last 12 years, and nothing has fundamentally changed about the grant, what has changed?" he asked, according to Fox News. "The only answer is the current presidential administration."