Four Jewish senators are among a bipartisan group of 12 seeking reimbursement from the federal government
for city and state governments that incur expenses incarcerating criminals found to be in this country illegally.
“Control of illegal immigration is a Federal responsibility. When our Federal agencies fall short
in this responsibility, State and local taxpayers should not have to foot the bill,” said Sen.
Dianne Feinstein, the measure's lead sponsor. “This legislation is intended to remind the Federal government to fulfill its duties and to help State and local governments deal with the burden that illegal criminal aliens
have placed on their justice systems.”
Other Jewish senators co-sponsoring the bill, introduced Wednesday, Jan 27, were
Barbara Boxer (D-Calif),
(D-N.J.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y). An additional eight sponsors were Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn); Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), John Conyn (R-Tex), Dick Durbin (D-Ill), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz) and John McCain (R-Ariz.)
Feinstein said that as part of the Crime Act of 1994, the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP)
provided states between $500 million and $585 million in reimbursement funding annually from 1996
to 2002. Since 2003, however, the Bush Administration has proposed no funding for SCAAP and Congress has
only provided a fraction of the amount requested by states, she said.
Feinstein added that in the past three years, Congress has approved the following amounts for SCAAP:
$250 million for 2003, $296.8 million for 2004, and $305 million for 2005.
The SCAAP authorization expired in October 2004. Under the bipartisan legislation, the program
would be restored and funding would be authorized at the following levels: $750 million in Fiscal Year 2006; $850 million in Fiscal Year 2007; $950 million in Fiscal Years 2008 through 2011.
Feinstein estimated that states incur approximately $13 billion in criminal justice costs each year for
housing criminal aliens.