Today, Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23) announced the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has delayed further budget cuts to the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), a federal law enforcement program that provides local governments with funding to help offset a portion of the cost of incarcerating undocumented criminals, at the request of a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress.
In July, Capps and 66 of her colleagues in the House of Representatives sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder opposing a DOJ decision to discontinue SCAAP payments to local governments for inmates whose immigration status is "unknown" or are not listed in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) database. If this change had been implemented, it would have dramatically reduced California counties' SCAAP payments and negatively impacted county budgets, particularly as many of them continue the process of implementing public safety mandates included in last year's State's budget package.
The DOJ made the right decision in preserving this much needed funding for our local law enforcement," said Congresswoman Capps. "According to our Sheriffs on the Central Coast, maintaining this federal funding is vitally important in this difficult budget time and critical to keeping services in place to keep our communities safe. This is one of my top public safety priorities, and I will continue to be a strong and consistent advocate for the bipartisan SCAAP program in Congress."
To illustrate the impact of the proposed rule change, if DOJ's new SCAAP reimbursement criteria had been in place for the 2010 application period, California counties would have seen awards drop by nearly 50 percent, from $40.8 million to $21.8 million. Under this scenario, for example, Santa Barbara County would have expected a 25 percent reduction in SCAAP funding from its 2010 levels, amounting to a cut of $191,608.
Last year, Capps joined Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown and San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson to highlight the importance of SCAAP funding to the Central Coast and how it helps local law enforcement protect the public's safety.