Gov. Chris Gregoire sent an invoice of nearly $50 million to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday, saying the federal government needs to reimburse the state for the cost of housing criminal illegal immigrants in state prisons.
Gregoire said that it's the federal government's responsibility to incarcerate illegal immigrants who have committed crimes, but that the state has been doing it for years. From July 2004 to June 2005, Gregoire said the state paid more than $27 million to house 995 prisoners. The U.S. Department of Justice has only reimbursed the state $1.7 million, and still owes $25.3 million.
She's seeking an additional $24.4 million reimbursement for the months from July 2005 to this May...
Gregoire, a Democrat, said she talked with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, about the immigrant incarceration issue at the Western Governors' Association meeting in Arizona last month.
"We, all three, agreed that we were going to take action," she said.
Schwarzenegger has not sent such a letter but has fought to increase federal reimbursements, said his press secretary, Margita Thompson. California state officials have lobbied the White House on the issue, and Schwarzenegger brought it up with President Bush during a visit to Silicon Valley in April, she said.
California spends more than $750 million per year on illegal immigrant incarceration costs, Schwarzenegger's office said.
Since late 2004, Napolitano has sent invoices to the federal government requesting reimbursement for her state's costs for imprisoning criminal illegal immigrants...
Immigration · Tue, 07/18/2006 - 00:06 · Importance: 1