Last week, Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar spearheaded a bipartisan effort to ensure adequate resources for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) in the fiscal year 2016 funding bill.
SCAAP is a grant program that reimburses states and local governments for the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants convicted of crimes. By law, the federal government is ultimately responsible for immigration enforcement, including the incarceration of undocumented criminal offenders. When deportation or incarceration by the feds is not possible, the law requires the federal government to compensate state and local governments for these incarceration costs.
Compensation to local law enforcement agencies under SCAAP currently covers less than 18% of the actual cost of incarcerating undocumented criminal offenders.
Gosar’s letter was signed by 43 members of Congress including: Linda Sánchez, Brian Babin, Lou Barletta, Mo Brooks, Julia Brownley, Bradley Byrne, Lois Capps, Tony Cárdenas, Judy Chu, Gerald Connolly, Paul Cook, Henry Cuellar, Susan Davis, Mark DeSaulnier, Anna Eshoo, Trent Franks, Raul Grijalva, Cresent Hardy, Alcee Hastings, Joe Heck, Jared Huffman, Sheila Jackson Lee, Ann Kirkpatrick, Doug Lamborn, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Jerry McNerney, Martha McSally, Grace F. Napolitano, Charles B. Rangel, Linda Sánchez, Matt Salmon, Adam Schiff, David Schweikert, Kyrsten Sinema, Albio Sires, Eric Swalwell, Mark Takano, Mike Thompson, Dina Titus, Juan Vargas, and Roger Williams.
“Law enforcement in America continues to struggle with the tidal wave of illegal immigrants that continue to flood our nation. Yet, the Obama Administration has ignored the federal government’s responsibility to enforce our immigration laws, further burdening local communities and sheriffs while forcing them to shell out exorbitant amounts of money to do the federal government’s job,” stated Gosar.
“It is shameful that the federal government would compound these challenges by failing to compensate states and local governments for the costs of incarcerating illegal immigrants convicted of crimes. The Obama Administration needs to either start enforcing the rule of law, including our immigration laws, or reimburse local law enforcement picking up the slack,” argued Gosar.