Feb 28, 2013 7:39 PM by Lorraine Rivera

Fewer illegal immigrants in Santa Cruz County Jail

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, AZ - Santa Cruz County is seeing a decline in the number of illegal immigrants being taken to its jail.

Sheriff Tony Estrada says he usually houses about 130 illegal immigrants each month which gets his department about $250,000 a month from the Department of Justice. But for the month of February only about 30 were in custody which means less money for the county.

"What's making the difference? I think it's a combination of things: I think it's probably less people coming across, probably better border security, laws obviously that are making it more difficult," he said.

Estrada said immigration reform may also play a role in the future, "we don't know what's going to happen. If that's going to increase and stabilize but the numbers are definitely down right now."

Meanwhile, Arturo Garino, the mayor of Nogales says he believes the numbers are down because the border is more secure, "right now it's so secure right now that it's unbelievable. The numbers have dropped tremendously. You know our city is one of the safest cities in the whole border of Arizona."

Garino said he has been to Washington twice to discuss border issues and as a former law enforcement officer can proudly say crime in his city is down to 21 percent, "so that's why I know it's very secure. That's why I know homeland security is doing a great job. And the partnerships that homeland security has created with local police and the sheriff's dept, and state police, it's unbelievable."


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