Bono Mack Helps States Deal With Criminal Illegal Aliens

Press Release

By:  Mary Bono Mack
Date: May 9, 2008
Location: Washington, DC

Bono Mack Helps States Deal With Criminal Illegal Aliens

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) today praised House passage of H.R. 1512, which would amend the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) to authorize reimbursements to States and local governments for costs associated with the incarceration of illegal aliens charged - rather than convicted - with a felony or two or more misdemeanors. Bono Mack joined Representative Linda Sanchez (CA-39) and other members of the California Delegation in introducing this legislation in May of 2007. The measure passed by a voice vote yesterday and now awaits consideration in the Senate.

"Our state and local governments depend on SCAAP funding to deal with the burgeoning costs associated with incarcerating criminal aliens," said Bono Mack. "At a time when our State is facing such economic challenges, we must ensure that crucial SCAAP funding continues so that our law enforcement officials can effectively deal with those who enter our country illegally and commit crimes.

"This legislation is especially crucial for Riverside County, where a recent DOJ interpretation of the original SCAAP statute cut the County's reimbursements from $3.69 million to $887,826. We need to give our local law enforcement officials the tools they need to protect our communities and keep criminals where they belong - behind bars."

According to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, the County's jails are currently holding over 2,800 illegal aliens. With the average stay at sixty days, the estimated annual cost to the County is more than $18.51 million.

Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff said, "The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is strongly in favor of passage of H.R. 1512, which will reinstate the County's ability to be reimbursed for the cost associated with incarcerating those that have entered our country illegally and are charged with a serious crime. Immigration remains a Federal responsibility, and this is a significant step in helping to offset the local impacts of illegal immigration."

A consistent proponent for SCAAP funding, Bono Mack notes that securing both our northern and southern borders is a vital aspect of protecting U.S. national security and keeping communities safe.