Yesterday, I mentioned that President Obama plans a 100 percent cut to SCAAP, the program that reimburses states and localities for incarcerating criminal aliens. The cut is supposed to save some $400 million.
A Republican aide on Capitol Hill reminds me that aside from AFSCME, others objected strongly when President Bush tried to eliminate the program last year:
THEN GOV. JANET NAPOLITANO: “The Bush administration has perfected the nasty habit of cost-shifting to the states. Examples are plentiful: State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. By law, the federal government must reimburse states for the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants who break state laws. But for years, the federal government has only reimbursed a fraction of the cost. Arizona’s unpaid bill is nearing $500 million. As governor, I must enforce the law and pay to incarcerate these individuals. The federal government just shrugs its shoulders and walks away from its statutory obligation.” (op-ed, Gov. Janet Napolitano, Wall Street Journal, 04/24/08)
HOUSE BUDGET CHAIRMAN JOHN SPRATT (D-SC): “And here’s a program that simply cannot be — the need for it cannot be overstated. The State Criminal Alien Adjustment — if you’re going to do anything about immigration, it starts at the border, securing the border. And it starts with dealing with criminal elements and those who are coming here illegally. And this is the one federal program that specifically addresses that.” (Budget Hearing, 2/28/08)
REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (D-AZ): “Where the federal government relies on local law enforcement, it is supposed to reimburse our local municipalities in a program called SCAAP, State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. Now, as you know, the SCAAP funding was first created in 1994. But this program has been consistently underfunded. Therefore, the cost for incarcerating folks that are here illegally are borne directly by our counties. Some of these counties, like mine in southern Arizona, are among the poorest in the nation. They are already operating with slim budgets and slim staffing.” (Budget Hearing, 2/28/08)