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May 19, 2008

Arpaio faces hefty budget cuts, vows to continue sweeps

Arpaio faces hefty budget cuts, vows to continue sweeps
Arpaio: Immigration will remain priority

by Yvonne Wingett and JJ Hensley - May. 16, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

"Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio faces hefty budget cuts as he attempts to find money to continue his immigration sweeps, documents obtained Thursday by The Arizona Republic show.

The documents spell out proposed cutbacks to several sheriff's operations in fiscal 2009, which starts July 1.

Arpaio said he would continue making illegal immigration a top priority, and that the cuts would not affect public safety.
The sheriff said he will increase volunteer posse numbers and reduce services offered to other agencies to make room in his tight budget to continue the operations.

Earlier this week, Arpaio's office was cut off from state funds to help pay for some of those illegal immigration operations, but Arpaio vowed Thursday to continue the sweeps, despite the proposed reduction in county money.

"If I don't get it back, we're still going to do what we're doing," Arpaio said. "I've got news for them: I'm going to double the arrests. They can put that in their pipe and smoke it."

Under a proposal being worked on by Arpaio's administrators and county budget officials, the Sheriff's Office would take a 5 percent reduction from its requested budget, or about $4 million to its general fund.

The office is one of the county's largest, and the reductions are part of a larger effort to trim spending in the face of revenue shortfalls, caused by a slowing economy.

The sheriff's general fund primarily pays for law-enforcement patrol. Arpaio has spent about $35,000 of the money since January to saturate some Valley neighborhoods with deputies to identify and question people suspected to be undocumented immigrants.

Another $1.6 million in state funding helped pay for those patrols, and many of the sheriff's immigration-related operations, including drophouse investigations and enforcement of the state's human-smuggling law.

Earlier this week, Gov. Janet Napolitano signed an executive order that immediately redirected that money to a program to pursue nearly 60,000 open felony warrants to capture some of the state's most-wanted fugitives, including human smugglers and others in the country illegally...".


Posted by VisaLawyer at May 19, 2008 01:56 PM


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