Should Counties Bear the Financial Burden of Undocumented Criminals?

Article author: 
Brian Addison
Article publisher: 
Long Beach Post
Article date: 
June 14, 2012
Article category: 
Our American Future
Medium
Article Body: 

On May 23, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced an alteration in the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) that will prohibit SCAAP funds from being used to reimburse localities for certain criminal aliens, or foreign-born criminals.

The funds will specifically exclude what are called "unknown" inmates, that is, persons who are believed to be undocumented following arrest but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lacks enough information to actually determine the person's alien status; this is opposed to "known" aliens, whose undocumented status has been proved by DHS and therefore laws applying to aliens can be legally upheld...

Previous practice covered anyone assumed to be an undocumented person, unknown or otherwise. And given that an estimated 80% of "unknown" inmates in the state's county jails are truly undocumented, according to the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), the blow could be devastating to L.A. County, costing millions more in addition to the fraction they receive in reimbursement. Though estimated to cost the county $70 million a year, a downward spiral in reimbursement funds has been trending, with $15 million given in 2009, $14 million given in 2010, and $9.9 million given last year via SCAAP funds....