... 271980.htm

Posted on Wed, Apr. 05, 2006

Governors ask Congress to pay for jailing illegal immigrants

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and 13 other governors, including Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, pressed federal lawmakers Wednesday to find money to reimburse states for the cost of jailing illegal immigrants - something that costs California more than $750 million a year.

President Bush's budget request for 2007 proposed killing the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. Bush has deleted the program in past years but Congress has not gone along. Lawmakers found $405 million for the program in 2006 - about 40 percent of that goes to California.

Schwarzenegger and the other governors on Wednesday wrote to the chairmen and top Democrats on the spending subcommittees in the Senate and House with jurisdiction over the program. The letter asked them to find $850 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program in 2007.

"These funds are critical to states such as ours and needed to at least partially offset the costs our taxpayers are bearing as a result of the failure to control illegal entries along our international borders," the letter said.

Immigration legislation passed by the House and being debated Wednesday in the Senate also would authorize spending for the program.

Signing the letter along with Schwarzenegger and Pawlenty were the governors of Arizona, Georgia, Texas, Washington, Florida, New York, Iowa, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Illinois and New Jersey.