Thursday, July 01, 2004 Feds should pay for jail use Editorials

Editorial: Feds should pay for jail use
Web Posted: 07/01/2004 01:19 AM CDT
San Antonio Express-News

Even though President Bush is the former governor of a state that borders Mexico, his administration is still trying to dump more of the costs for jailing immigrants on local governments.

Those expenses are onerous for South Texas counties.

Local officials say the federal State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which is designed to help them, doesn't cover the costs they incur in jailing undocumented immigrants in federal custody.

Yet, the Express-News has reported, the Bush administration wants to cut even more from the program, which has been slashed by more than 50 percent since 1995.

Changes to the funding formula mean that counties don't get reimbursed unless an undocumented immigrant stays in jail for four consecutive days.

Members of Congress from districts along the border continue to resist the administration's efforts and fight for additional funding.

The issue is simple fairness. If the federal government uses local resources to house undocumented immigrants, it should reimburse the counties for their costs.

Counties along the border need all the help they can get.


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