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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Congress cuts funds for jailing undocumented criminals

    Congress cuts funds for jailing undocumented criminals

    Erin Kelly, Gannett Washington Bureau6:57 p.m. EST January 16, 2014


    (Photo: Matt York, AP)

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS


    • Program pays state and local governments to house criminal undocumented immigrants
    • Budget bill passed by Congress cuts funding by nearly $60 million
    • Federal funding will now cover only about 15% to 18% of the costs of incarceration


    WASHINGTON — A massive 2014 federal spending bill passed this week by Congress would cut nearly $60 million — or about 25% — from a federal program that reimburses states and local governments for the cost of incarcerating undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes.

    Local and state taxpayers will have to pick up a bigger share of the tab as Congress moves to reduce the annual funding of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) from $238 million to $180 million in 2014.


    Among the states that would be hit hardest are Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York and Texas, which have high numbers of undocumented immigrant criminals serving time in state prisons and county jails.


    "This is already a burden for state and local law enforcement and county budgets, and this latest cut just makes things worse," said Matt Chase, executive director of the National Association of Counties. "Our view is that it's the federal government's role to take care of illegal immigration. They're supposed to protect the borders but they've failed and local law enforcement is paying for the consequences of undocumented aliens being in the country."


    SCAAP reimburses states and local governments for the cost of incarcerating undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of felonies or at least two misdemeanor offenses and have been jailed for a minimum of four consecutive days.


    The program is being cut as part of a huge omnibus spending bill that passed the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday. The bill is designed to fund federal agencies and programs through September and prevent another government shutdown.


    Cutting the federal SCAAP program gives members of Congress a chance to say they are reducing the federal budget when all they are doing is shifting the cost to local taxpayers, said Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe.


    "We have no choice but to pick up the tab," Knabe said. "We can't stop putting convicted criminals in jail. They can talk all they want in Washington about how they're cutting the budget. But they're doing it on the back of local government."


    Even before this latest cut, the federal government was only reimbursing states and local governments for about 15% to 18% of their costs for incarcerating undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes.


    "Arizona has never been fully reimbursed for our costs, so this is like rubbing salt in the wound," said Mesa, Ariz., Mayor Scott Smith, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "It's another example of a federal mandate that is going unfunded. It's just unconscionable that the federal government puts us in this position."


    Susan Frederick, senior federal affairs counsel for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said she and other advocates for full funding for SCAAP reached out to members of Congress but were largely rebuffed.


    "The way they've rationalized it is by saying they just don't have enough money to go around and that this program is no more or less important than other programs that are being cut," she said. "But states are doing everyone a favor by keeping convicted criminals off the streets and keeping our communities safe. They're supposed to get reimbursed for those efforts."


    The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program was originally authorized by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. However, the program was not actually funded until the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.


    The program has never reimbursed states and local governments for all of their costs. Funding rose to a high of $565 million in 2002 and then dropped to $400 million for several years before being cut down to $238 million in 2013.


    State and local officials say they believe that Congress might consider raising reimbursement rates if the House takes up immigration reform this year.


    A sweeping immigration reform bill passed by the Senate last June included an amendment by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to increase funding for the program. The amendment was supported by some Republicans from border states.


    The House has not yet taken up the issue, but Republican leaders plan to announce guidelines for immigration reform legislation this month.

    "If immigration reform ever gets back on track, we might get some relief," Chase said.
    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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  2. #2
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    Omnibus Budget Bill Cuts Funding for Jailing Illegal Alien Criminals

    by Matthew Boyle 18 Jan 2014, 8:21 AM PDT
    breitbart.com



    The omnibus spending bill that just passed the U.S. Congress slashes the budget of a program that pays to incarcerate illegal aliens who have committed crimes in the United States, the Arizona Republic reports.

    “A massive 2014 federal spending bill passed this week by Congress would cut nearly $60 million--or about 25 percent--from a federal program that reimburses states and local governments for the cost of incarcerating undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes,” the Arizona Republic’s Erin Kelly wrote. “Local and state taxpayers will have to pick up a bigger share of the tab as Congress moves to reduce the annual funding of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) from $238 million to $180 million in 2014.”

    The spending bill Kelly referenced is the omnibus bill from House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). That omnibus bill is the second part of the budget deal cut by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), which passed and was signed into law by President Obama before the end of 2013. The Ryan-Murray deal set up the Rogers-Mikulski bill, as the Ryan-Murray deal put into law general outlines for spending in the 2014 fiscal year, while the Rogers-Mikulski bill specifies funding pursuant to that outline for individual programs and agencies.

    As Kelly noted, these specific cuts to the program that pays to jail illegal aliens who commit crimes would affect Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Texas more than other states because they “have high numbers of undocumented immigrant criminals serving time in state prisons and county jails.”

    “SCAAP reimburses states and local governments for the cost of incarcerating undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of felonies or at least two misdemeanor offenses and have been jailed for a minimum of four consecutive days,” Kelly wrote.

    Even pro-amnesty lawmakers from both the Democratic Party and the GOP support increasing funding to SCAAP instead of decreasing it. Kelly noted that when the Senate “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill passed the Senate last summer, it included an amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that actually increased funding to SCAAP. Gang of Eight GOP member Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) supported that amendment.

    Flake even made a statement at the time praising the program: “SCAAP is an important tool to border states like Arizona that have borne the brunt of the federal government’s failure to secure the border,” he said.

    The cutting of this program is hardly the only item in the budget deal that has outraged conservatives. The deal cuts the pensions for over 90 percent of American veterans, and proposals to restore veterans’ pensions by cutting off illegal aliens’ access to tax credit loopholes were blocked. Currently, illegal aliens can illicitly access the Refundable Child Tax Credit in a manner inconsistent with federal law.

    Some have suspected this budget fight is a front for the coming amnesty fight, as House GOP leadership officials announced they are drafting immigration “principles” at this time. Through these deals, Boehner has tested--and beaten--conservative groups and the conservative bloc of the House conference; a little over 60 House Republicans voted against both the budget deal in December and the omnibus deal in January.

    Additionally, the cuts to the SCAAP program could eventually be rectified in a House immigration reform package like the one Ryan and Goodlatte are crafting with Boehner and Cantor. As Kelly noted, the Senate-passed bill contained the Feinstein amendment that increased SCAAP funding.

    “The House has not yet taken up the issue, but Republican leaders plan to announce guidelines for immigration reform legislation this month,” Kelly wrote.

    Kelly quoted Matt Chase, the executive director of the National Association of Counties, saying that a House immigration reform package may help increase SCAAP funding. “If immigration reform ever gets back on track, we might get some relief,” Chase reportedly said.

    However, leaders could pass a standalone bill that fixes the problem outright, or they could add an amendment to any other forthcoming legislative packages dealing with other issues. There is no need to pass an immigration legislative package to restore SCAAP funding.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Governm...illegal-aliens
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