SCIENCE, STATE, JUSTICE, COMMERCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- (House of Representatives - June 27, 2006)
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Mr. BARROW. Mr. Chairman, first of all, I would like to thank Chairman Wolf and Ranking Member Mollohan for their work on this important bill.
Mr. Chairman, since I joined Congress last year, illegal immigration has been debated, discussed and voted on a lot in this House, and it is the number one concern with a lot of folks that I represent back home in Georgia.
We all know that the explosion of illegal immigrants is imposing a huge cost on local schools and local hospitals, but it is also imposing a huge new cost on local law enforcement as well. Local police departments are already stretched to the limit financially in dealing with home-grown crime. Despite that, most do an outstanding job of serving the public without all the resources they already need.
But because we still haven't secured our borders, we have caused local law enforcement to have to do more. We have asked them to do more, and yet the Federal Government is not helping them to deal with that part of the crime problem that the Federal Government has actually created.
Since 9/11, Congress hasn't helped. We have given local law enforcement more to do, but less to do it with. We have expanded State and local law enforcement's authority to investigate, arrest and jail undocumented criminal aliens.
When we expand the responsibilities of State and local police, when we ask them to do more, we have an obligation to give them the resources that they need in order to do more.
In 1994, Congress created the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, the SCAAP program, and since then it has provided over $4.1 billion in financial assistance to States, reimbursing State and local police for the cost of jailing undocumented criminal aliens.
In the last fiscal year alone, my home State of Georgia received $1.8 million in SCAAP funding for our State and local police. This year, funding for SCAAP was zeroed out in the President's budget. Fortunately, this bill will reinstate some funding for this program, but the amount is still far short of the amount that is authorized of the amount that is needed.
My amendment would provide an additional $10 million to the SCAAP program.
Frankly, we have enough home-grown crime to deal with already without having to deal with the crime that we are literally importing from other countries. As a result, my amendment pays for an increase in SCAAP funding through an 8/10 of 1 percent decrease in funding from the account that pays membership fees to international organizations.
Earlier this year, the President addressed the Nation and announced he would be sending National Guard troops to our southern border to help stem the flood of illegal immigrants flowing into the United States. National Guard troops on the border may help stem the flow of new illegal immigrants, but they do nothing to deal with the criminal element that has already gotten through.
With an estimated is 11 million illegal immigrants already living in the United States, our local law enforcement agencies continue to serve as our first line of defense in dealing with the criminal element that has already entered the country. That is why we need to provide State and local police with the resources that they need to do the job that we impose upon them.
I therefore urge my colleagues to help State and local law enforcement deal with undocumented criminals and support the amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
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