County delays over $1.5 million headed to Arpaio's office

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Funds headed to MCSO delayed by county

PHOENIX - Maricopa County is delaying more than $1 million designated to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

The funds make up $1.6 million that the sheriff says he uses to catch human smugglers. These are funds that the former governor took away and this legislature gave back. They are also funds the Board of Supervisors is still considering whether or not to accept.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says, "Why would you not accept $1.6 million dollars?"

The sheriff is now accusing the Board of Supervisors of playing politics and delaying the delivery of state funds to help his department fight illegal immigration and human smuggling. The sheriff says, "I would hope they would do the right thing and accept the $1.6 million that has been given to the sheriff."

Instead the Board of Supervisors decided to take up the issue next month. Arizona Congressman Trent Franks agrees with the sheriff and says, "I've seen nothing that indicates that this investigation is anything but politically-motivated."

The committee will be evaluating the federal program known as 287g which allows local agencies to enforce immigration law.

Sheriff Joe says, "They trained 160 of my officers and in the process we arrest people not only for illegal immigration but for many other crimes."

The future of 287g will be left up to the federal government but the future of Arizona's $1.6 million is in the hands of the county supervisors.

One activist explains, "We'd like to see that money go to schools, teachers health care wherever of better use."

Immigration activists are anxious to see how the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the sheriff's alleged racial profiling pans out before he gets any of the funds.

An activist adds, "This is a huge step because now the Board of Supervisors are acknowledging they need to investigate what to do with the money."

The Board promising to revisit the issue in 30 days while the sheriff promises, "It's going to be an interesting 30 days."