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Brewer announces $10M in border security grants

Gov. Jan Brewer announced the recipients of $10 million in grants to law enforcement agencies near the U.S.-Mexico border, fulfilling part of a plan aimed at alleviating the impact of illegal immigration and drug trafficking in Southern Arizona.

The money, which came from a pool of discretionary federal stimulus dollars, will be divvied up between 16 cities, counties and tribal governments, along with the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Brewer said the money could be used for various expenses, including overtime pay, training costs, vehicles and other equipment used by law enforcement in the border region.

“Since the federal government continues to announce inadequate plans and place new warning signs on federal lands in Arizona, we are forced to do what we can locally to act on safety and security until the Congress and the administration act,” Brewer said in a press statement.

The announcement of the grants comes as President Barack Obama prepares to deploy about 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, more than 500 of which will be in Arizona. The troops will assist U.S. Customs and Border Patrol with surveillance, intelligence gathering and other supporting duties.

The grants were a key component of a plan unveiled by Brewer on April 22, the day before she signed Arizona’s landmark illegal immigration law, S1070. The plan also includes increased helicopter surveillance and other assistance from the Arizona National Guard, as well as a pledge that the Arizona Department of Public Safety will provide personnel to any border community that requests help dealing with border security issues.

DPS and Cochise County will receive the largest grants, nearly $1.6 million apiece, while Santa Cruz County will get $1.3 million and Pima County will receive $1.1 million. Grants ranging from $76,000 to $900,000 will go to the cities of Benson, Bisbee, Douglas, Nogales, Patagonia, Sahuarita, San Luis, Somerton and Yuma; Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties; and the Cocopah Tribe, the Fort Yuma-Quechan Tribe and the Tohono O’odham Nation.

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