Cornyn Vows To Protect Border Law Enforcement Funds

In: All News   Posted 02/06/2007

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, reiterated his strong support today for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), and vowed to fight proposed cuts to this important program. SCAAP reimburses states and counties for the costs of detaining illegal immigrants arrested in connection with crimes other than immigration violations.  Under the Administration’s budget submitted to Congress yesterday, all federal funding for SCAAP would be eliminated.  Last year, the federal government provided $651 million under SCAAP to states and counties across the country, including the State of Texas which received $26.5 million.  “When the federal government fails to live up to its responsibilities on the border, states and counties shouldn’t – and in many cases can’t – pick up the tab,” Sen. Cornyn said.  “They didn’t create this problem and local communities in Texas shouldn’t be forced to pay for it.  As the budget and appropriations process moves forward this year, I will vigorously oppose any effort to cut funds from this critical program.”   Background:Senator Cornyn has long been a strong supporter of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program.  In 2005, he was an original co-sponsor of the SCAAP Reauthorization Act of 2005 (S. 188) which he helped pass in the Senate on May 24, 2005.  In 2003, Sen. Cornyn co-sponsored a similar bill, S. 460, at which time he also introduced legislation which would provide funding to cover the costs of federally mandated emergency health care for undocumented immigrants.  SCAAP is administered through the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, and provides federal payments to states and localities that incurred correctional officer salary costs for incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens who have at least one felony or two misdemeanor convictions for violations of state or local law, and are incarcerated for at least four consecutive days during the reporting period. The state of Texas received a total of $26,453,985 under the 2005 SCAAP funding- $18,582,484 of which went to the state and the remainder of which was awarded at a local level.