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States can’t foot bill to jail illegals

Citizen Staff Writer
Our Opinion

In his budget for fiscal 2010, President Obama has proposed that the federal government stop reimbursing border states for jailing illegal immigrants.

That would be a patently unfair slap at states – such as Arizona – that through geographic happenstance, are unduly impacted by the federal government’s failed immigration policies.

Under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, states and counties are reimbursed for jailers’ salaries for holding illegal immigrants with at least one felony and two misdemeanor convictions.

In the past two years, $27.1 million has been sent to Arizona under the program, with about $1.3 million of that coming to Pima County. That is far short of the actual costs for jailing and prosecuting illegal immigrants.

Every dime of those costs not reimbursed by the federal government must be paid by state, county and local taxpayers. That is simply unfair.

Obama must include funding for the SCAAP program in his budget.

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