U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah) joined Congressional leaders urging President Bush to fully fund the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which is currently authorized at $950 million.
SCAAP was created by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to reimburse state and local governments for the cost of arrest, incarceration and transportation of criminal aliens (PL 103-322). SCAAP funding is particularly important in communities along the nearly 2,000 miles of southern border where state and local governments incur greater costs than other jurisdictions.
Over the past several years, their costs have exceeded the amounts that they have been reimbursed by hundreds of millions of dollars. Most counties along the U.S.-Mexico border are reimbursed as little as 9 percent of the costs of incarcerating alien criminals.
“We rely on our local and state governments more than we should to help us enforce our national immigration laws,” Barrow said. “They do a great job, but they need more help. Without SCAAP funding, many local law enforcement agencies simply can’t make ends meet.”
Last November, Barrow led a group of seven other members of Congress to the U.S./Mexican border. During the trip, he met with federal, state, and local officials tasked with securing our southern border.