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ceebee
07-29-2006, 10:38 AM
Seattle Times
Friday, July 28, 2006

Northwest Voices - Editorial views from across the state

Feds should pay for illegal aliens in prison

Gov. Chris Gregoire made a bold move when she recently sent a bill to the U.S. attorney general asking for nearly $50 million as reimbursement for the costs of housing criminal illegal immigrants in state prisons.

We hope she isn't ignored. For far too long, the federal government has disregarded its obligation and left the states with most of the financial burden of imprisoning illegal aliens who break the law. The state can't put these prisoners back on the street, so it has no choice but to pay for their incarceration. It isn't a fair situation.

Gregoire said even though it is the federal government's responsibility to incarcerate illegal immigrants who have committed crimes, the state has been doing it for years. From July 2004 to June 2005 the state paid more than $27 million to house 995 prisoners. The U.S. Department of Justice has reimbursed the state for only $1.7 million and still owes $25.3 million. Gregoire also is seeking an additional $24.4 million reimbursement for the months from July 2005 to this May.

In her letter, Gregoire asked that the federal government repay the state by Aug. 1, or take custody of the prisoners.

Washington isn't the only state that has suffered from the federal government's lack of commitment in this matter. California spends an estimated $750 million per year on illegal immigrant incarceration costs, according to the governor's office there. And in Arizona, Gov. Janet Napolitano has sent invoices to the federal government since late 2004 requesting reimbursement for her state's costs of keeping lawbreaking illegal immigrants in state prisons. Over 3 years, an estimated $270 million bill has been run up, her office said.

The longer the federal government ignores its duty, the more astronomical the amount it owes.

It's time for the federal government to take its obligation seriously and address how it will reimburse the state for covering more than just a minimal amount of the cost to incarcerate criminal illegal immigrants. While they're at it, federal officials also ought to figure out a better system for fully funding such costs in the future.

Gregoire and other governors shouldn't give up on this. There's much better use for state money than covering the responsibility of the federal government.

Gayle in MD
07-29-2006, 06:05 PM
And Bush says it's unrealistic to deport them?

Gayle in Md.

DickLeonard
07-30-2006, 12:09 PM
Ceebee I am waiting for Llotter and other Conservatives to answer if this Cost should be paid for by the US Government.
Can you imagine the cost for rounding up the illegal immigrants and detaining them. They could Bankrupt the Gov in no time.####

ceebee
07-30-2006, 12:28 PM
The Tulsa Police Department Captain Mr. David Been, says in the Sunday 7-30-2006 Tulsa World, that he will not inforce immigration laws in Tulsa. He says that profiling the Immigrants will drive them into hiding.

This kind of leadership should be illegal...