CBP Reports Decline in Unaccompanied Minor Crossings, Calls on Congress for More Funding

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A report by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency says this year's influx of Central American migrants has begun to decline, but it calls on Congress for support in keeping the crisis in check.

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Joe Arpaio Downplays MCSO's Being Dropped from Federal Military Equipment Program

Categories: News

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MCSO
Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a tank used by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is downplaying the federal government's decision to drop the Sheriff's Office from a program that allows local law enforcement agencies to obtain military surplus gear.

Arpaio's office issued a press release stating MCSO would be fine without the weapons and equipment obtained through what's known as the 1033 program. Arpaio claims the move is a swipe at him personally, although the Department of Defense says MCSO's termination in the program is due to the agency losing nine firearms.

"The Sheriff suspects that the termination after the two-year suspension, all of a sudden [and] just before a congressional meeting about the 1033 program, might be political," MCSO Lieutenant Brandon Jones tells New Times.

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Arizona Latino Leaders Announce Support for Same-Sex Marriage

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Courtesy of Steve Kilar
Latino leaders Carlos Galindo-Elvira, Edmundo Hidalgo, Steve Gallardo, Eva Montelongo, Dolores Huerta, Danny Ortega, Mark Mazon, and Alessandra Soler at the announcement yesterday.
Latino leaders from across the state kicked off National Hispanic Heritage Month by announcing their support for marriage equality.

The central Phoenix gathering was organized by Why Marriage Matters Arizona, a coalition founded a year ago by the ACLU of Arizona, Equality Arizona, Freedom to Marry, and the Human Rights Campaign. The event coincided with the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15.

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Russell Pearce and Hos Hoskins Get Sacks of Rice and Beans from Protesters

Categories: News

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Matthew Hendley
Ramiro Luna drops off rice and beans for Hos Hoskins and Russell Pearce.
Recalled ex-Senate President Russell Pearce doesn't seem to be putting in long days at the office in his new job with the Maricopa County Treasurer.

For the second day in a row, protesters showed up to the office demanding that county Treasurer Charles "Hos" Hoskins fire Pearce for comments Pearce made on his radio show, calling for the sterilization of women on Medicaid, and only sacks of rice and beans for those who need government assistance to feed themselves and their families. And for the second day in a row, the protesters were told Hoskins and Pearce were out of the office.

"Why is [Hoskins] never at work?" Citizens for a Better Arizona organizer Ramiro Luna asked an employee at the treasurer's office. "If any of these people miss a day at work, they'll be fired."

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Phoenix Area Faces Threat of More Rain, Flooding

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National Weather Service
A satellite image of Hurricane Odile.
More rain is expected to hit Arizona this week, bringing with it the possibility of more flooding in the Phoenix area.

National Weather Service meteorologist Gary Woodall tells New Times a flash-flood watch will be in effect from tomorrow morning through Thursday afternoon, although there are indications that Phoenix won't be the hardest-hit by the latest storms.

"Right now, it looks like the biggest threat for widespread heavy rain is going to be over southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico," Woodall says. "Now, that doesn't mean we can let our guard down [around Phoenix] . . . We could still have a chance for heavy rain and a flooding threat here in the Valley as well."

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Hos Hoskins' Office Filled With Protesters Demanding the Firing of Russell Pearce

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Matthew Hendley
Protesters filled the office of Maricopa County Treasurer Charles "Hos" Hoskins yesterday, demanding the firing of Russell Pearce.

Pearce, the recalled ex-state Senate President, recently landed an $85,000-a-year gig with the treasurer's office -- a job that calls for Pearce to promote a program that provides assistance to low-income seniors.

Meanwhile, Pearce has bashed government programs that help the poor on his radio show, and just this weekend resigned from his post as the first vice chair of the Arizona Republican Party for his draconian proposal for reforming welfare programs.

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South Phoenix Light Rail Expansion One Step Closer Thanks to Federal Grant

Categories: News

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valleymetro.org
A map of the light rail expansion lines. This proposed South Phoenix line is the gray striped line with "TBD" as the date of completion.
Phoenix's Public Transit Department scored a federal grant that city leaders see as a big step toward expanding light rail into South Phoenix.

The South Phoenix expansion is still in the planning stages, but the $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation allows the city to get started on things like environmental assessments and engineering of the proposed 5-mile expansion down Central Avenue to Baseline Road.

"These kinds of projects require a lot of financial support, and for us to get this from the U.S. Department of Transportation means they consider it to be a viable and valuable project," city spokesman Matthew Heil tells New Times.

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MCSO Dropped From Federal Military Equipment Program After Losing Weapons

Categories: News

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MCSO
Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a tank used by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office can no longer obtain military surplus gear through a federal government program after losing nine firearms.

The Sheriff's Office obtained the equipment through what's known as the 1033 program, which has come to national attention recently amid concerns of police militarization, especially during protests in Ferguson, Missouri. The program allows for the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies at no cost to police.

Letters to the Sheriff's Office from the Department of Defense and Payson Police Detective Matt Van Camp, Arizona's state coordinator for the 1033 program, describe exactly how MCSO's termination from the program came about.

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Atheists Blast Jan Brewer for Her Creation of an "Office of Faith and Community Partnerships"

Categories: News

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Matthew Hendley
Congressional candidate James Woods speaking out against Governor Jan Brewer's creation of an "Office of Faith and Community Partnerships."
Governor Jan Brewer's executive order creating the "Governor's Office of Faith and Community Partnerships" is not sitting well with some atheist and civil-rights groups.

Leaders of these groups, along with a couple of atheist politicians, delivered a letter to Brewer's office this morning, asking for certain "safeguards" and "balance" in the newly created office.

"Arizona is full of atheists, and Governor Brewer needs to understand this," American Atheists president David Silverman said at a press conference outside the state capitol this morning. "Governor Brewer needs to know when she puts together this office . . . that the faith portion of that excludes approximately a third of her state's voters."

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Prison Health Care Horror Stories Emerge From ACLU's Lawsuit Over Arizona Prison Conditions

Categories: News

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Matthew Hendley
Dozens of allegations of widespread problems in the Arizona Department of Corrections' health care system were made public yesterday.

The claims come from the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona's big class-action lawsuit against the state prison system, which claims that the ADC's health care services are wholly inadequate (to say the least), and is slated to go to trial this fall.

These new reports are from ACLU witnesses in the case, including several doctors and a longtime prison administrator, who got an up-close look at specific health-care issues in the prison system.

"The state is claiming that these are isolated incidents and these don't reflect the system as a whole, but these experts reports show that's simply untrue," ACLU of Arizona executive director Alessandra Soler tells New Times.

As one of the experts, Dr. Robert Cohen, described it in one of his reports, "[T]he ADC health care delivery system is fundamentally broken and is among the worst prison health care systems I have encountered."

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