Press Releases

Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate today passed by Unanimous Consent an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution to fully fund a program that reimburses States and local governments for the costs associated with incarcerating illegal criminal aliens, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) announced. 

The Feinstein-Kyl amendment increases the budget allocation for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) to its fully authorized level of $950 million.  The President’s budget had zeroed out funding, and the Senate Budget Resolution previously included only $407 million, less than half of the authorized amount.

“Each year, states, and specifically the border states, spend hundreds of millions of dollars to incarcerate criminal aliens.  Their only source of reimbursement is through the SCAAP program,” Senator Feinstein said.  “The real problem here is that the problem of illegal immigration is a federal responsibility.  Yet, the federal government has no problem shifting the costs for enforcing immigration laws onto our states.  This cost-shifting is not fair to state governments. It is a federal responsibility, and we must fund it.”

“State and local jails and prisons, particularly in border states like Arizona and California, must bear the heavy cost of incarcerating criminal illegal aliens,” Senator Kyl said.  “This burden is a federal responsibility, and I am pleased this budget authority will help provide the much-needed relief to state and local governments.”

The Senate Budget Resolution provides a spending blueprint that helps determine levels at which our government is funded. 

SCAAP provides federal payments to states and localities that incurred correctional officer salary costs for incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens with at least one felony or two misdemeanor convictions for violations of state or local law, and incarcerated for at least four consecutive days during the reporting period.

California has an estimated 2.5 million undocumented people living in the state.  California also has the largest criminal alien population in the country and so California bears the brunt of housing these criminal aliens.

The percentage of deportable criminal aliens in the California State prison system is 11.8 percent of the total inmate population of approximately 172,000.

The cost to house an inmate in the California State prison system is $35,212 per year.  It costs California over $715 million per year to house approximately 20,296 deportable criminal alien inmates.