/ Modified sep 14, 2018 4:53 p.m.

End to Stonegarden Funds; Flores Agreement; Saving for College

Plus, University of Arizona students share what makes their student loans worth it, in their own words.

This month the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to stop accepting a federal grant that funneled millions into the sheriff's department for over a decade. Homeland Security offers Operation Stonegarden grants to state and local law enforcement agencies for work done in cooperation with Border Patrol. According to the sheriff's department, between 2006 and 2018 it received nearly $16 million through Stonegarden.

Sheriff Mark Napier has been a vocal critic of the decision to end the grant. He explained how its termination affects operations going forward.

One of three votes to end Operation Stonegarden in Pima County came from Democratic Supervisor Ramón Valadez. Months earlier, Valadez cast the tie-breaking vote to continue the program as long as the sheriff's department met certain conditions. This time around, Republican Supervisor Steve Christy was the only supervisor present to support Stonegarden. Both appeared together to explain their differences.

After the Trump Administration announced it would no longer separate families at the border, it is now attempting to bypass the 1997 Flores agreement, which dictates how long children are detained. Under the settlement, children must be released generally after 20 days in custody. Newly proposed rules could extend that time frame in instances where children are detained with a parent or legal guardian.

Shefali Milczarek-Desai is a faculty member at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and works with its immigration and asylum clinic. She explained how the Flores agreement originated and recent challenges from the Obama and Trump administrations.

As the new school year begins, many prospective college students and their families are already finalizing forms for financial aid. Some families may find themselves in situations where they dip into their retirement savings to cover tuition. Certified financial planner Mary Ahearn first noticed that trend in 2008. She shared some of the advice she now gives families to help them get ahead.

Student loan debt in the United States totals more than $1.4 trillion dollars, according to federal data. At a career fair at the University of Arizona, Arizona 360 heard from students about how much they owe in loans. In their own words, they explained why they think it's worth it.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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