Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio doesn't need an extra $1.6 million from the state in order to arrest illegal immigrants.
That said, the sheriff sure wouldn't mind cashing that check.
Arpaio ridiculed the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors over its decision to at least temporarily deny the sheriff's office a state grant for that amount last week. But with no clear way around the supervisors, Arpaio held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to make a public plea.
"My bosses want me to" enforce immigration law, Arpaio said.
Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas joined Arpaio.
The supervisors delayed a vote on whether to accept the grant, which comes through the state Department of Public Safety's Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission. The grant might require the county to contribute $240,000 to the program in order to secure $1.6 million for the sheriff's office.
Pearce, the senate appropriations committee chair, worked to find cash for MCSO's immigration operations even as the state grapples with billion-dollar deficits. Arpaio's deputies, who have made more than 1,000 arrests under the state human smuggling law, have earned the money, Pearce said.
"What a great concept; reward the people who are doing the job," Arpaio said.
Several supervisors said they do not oppose Arpaio receiving the money but were concerned about the county's financial situation and an ongoing FBI investigation into alleged civil rights violations by deputies.
"I just had some unanswered questions in the last meeting," said Supervisor Max Wilson in a prepared statement Tuesday.
The supervisors need not worry over the $240,000. Arpaio pledged to raise that amount in donations, "in one day if that's their big problem."