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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

And Your California Representative Will Claim This As An Unqualified Success
From the Daily News - interesting, isn't it?

The $388 billion spending package Congress just approved will do little to relieve California of the crippling financial burden of jailing illegal immigrants, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said Monday.

The House and Senate approved allocating $305 million for state and local governments nationwide that shoulder the costs of incarcerating undocumented aliens convicted of crimes.

Los Angeles County received just $13.5 million last year, he said, and expects to receive only slightly more this year. California expects to spend more than $600 million, with the cost of jailing illegal immigrants in Los Angeles County running from $80 million to $100 million....

Funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program has long been a sore point in California and other border states. Officials argue that the federal government should reimburse states for the costs of housing and feeding illegal immigrants because securing the nation's borders is the federal government's job.

Although complaints about the lack of federal funding go back years, Baca laid blame at the feet of the Bush administration while giving powerful members of California's congressional delegation -- such as Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, R-Glendora, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee -- a pass.

"The congressional delegation has 100 percent been fighting for this every year," Baca said. "What's really lacking is the administration to take this and make it a priority. They have to signal that this is an important thing to put in the budget."

The Bush administration has sought to eliminate the program since 2001, arguing that there is less need for it because the federal government is improving border security....

[N]oting that the Senate did not allocate any money this year and that Congress approved only $300 million in 2003, Dreier spokeswoman Jo Maney issued a statement: "We're pleased with the final number."...

From the Los Angeles area, only Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, voted against the bill. Rep. Juanita Millender McDonald, D-Torrance, voted "present."

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