Bono Mack Supports Funding for Incarcerating Criminal Illegal Aliens

Press Release

By:  Mary Bono Mack
Date: May 19, 2009
Location: Washington, DC


Bono Mack Supports Funding for Incarcerating Criminal Illegal Aliens

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) today called for restored funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which helps state and local governments offset the costs associated with incarcerating criminal illegal aliens. In a letter sent to House appropriators, Bono Mack and several of her colleagues expressed their deep concern about the elimination of SCAAP in the President's Fiscal Year 2010 budget request.

"Already facing significant economic challenges, our state and local governments depend on SCAAP funding to deal with the rising costs of incarcerating criminal illegal aliens," said Bono Mack. "California alone spends nearly $1 billion dollars each year to incarcerate undocumented criminals, who are the responsibility of the federal government. We cannot afford to eliminate this vital funding that supports our local law enforcement and helps keep criminal illegal aliens behind bars."

Riverside County Sheriff Stanley Sniff said, "The Sheriff's Department assists the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency with identifying and processing criminal illegal immigrants. Currently, our jails hold over 400 identified criminal illegal immigrants with past criminal convictions. Over fifty percent of these individuals have been arrested for committing violent crimes in our communities. The annual cost for housing criminal illegal immigrants is over $11 million for which the federal government reimburses the county $1.9 million, a mere fraction of our cost. Eliminating SCAPP funds at a time the County is facing its worse budget shortfall will jeopardize our ability to identify criminal illegal immigrants and protect the public."

Under the law that created SCAAP, the federal government is required to take all criminal illegal aliens into federal custody. If that is not possible, which has been the case since the program was created, the law calls for compensation of state and local governments' incarceration costs.

A consistent proponent for SCAAP funding, Bono Mack notes that even though the President's budget suggested a more robust approach to enforcement along our nation's borders, it would not help state and local governments deal with the ongoing funding problems caused by the cost of incarcerating criminal aliens already in the jail systems.