House adds money for criminal aliens

The House this afternoon voted 388-39 for a bipartisan amendment introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; Linda Sánchez, D-Lakewood; and David Dreier, R-San Dimas, to increase funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) by $55 million to a total of $460 million for FY 2008.

SCAAP is the federal government’s reimbursement to state and local governments for the costs of incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens. California usually gets about 40 percent of the allocation.

“Many states, including California, have come to rely on SCAAP funding to help them absorb the costs of incarcerating undocumented alien criminals,” Lofgren said in a news release. “Immigration policy is an inherently federal responsibility, and the federal government should do all it can to ensure that our state and local governments are not unduly burdened by its actions. Increasing SCAAP funding is a common sense response to what has become a funding problem at the state and local level. $55 million will have a real and direct positive impact on state and local governments.”

The program began in 1994 but the Bush Administration for years has been proposing to defund SCAAP completely, including no money at all for the program in its budget proposal; each year Congress adds some money back in. Congress approved $250 million for it in 2003; $296.8 million for 2004; $301 million for 2005; $405 million for 2006; and $405 million for 2007. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plus 16 other governors in May had asked Congress to provide $950 million for SCAAP in Fiscal Year 2008.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Shell’s Hat

    “criminal aliens” outwork your hairy-armpitted san fran hippie-chick welfare-sucking loser bitches tenfold, and that’s why the corporations that run this country lay out a welcome mat for them. Get out of your tower and learn something about the real world.