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State and Local Jails Do Know What Criminal Aliens Are Costing Citizens

JBS | August 29, 2007
Jim Capo

It's amazing offer a Federal subsidy and suddenly state and local law enforcement officials quickly discover they can accurately* identify how many criminal aliens are in our jails and what they are costing us. (* close enough for government work anyway.)

Follow this link to the original source: " Bureau of Justice Assistance State Criminal Alien Assistance Program "


When irate citizens challenge their state and local officials to come clean on just how much it is costing us to jail criminal aliens a common refrain is, "It's not in our mandate to determine a criminal's legal status. That is a federal issue." Most major media organs are accommodating of this position and claim that hard numbers on this issue are "difficult to determine."

However, when federal taxpayer-financed subsidies become available, the magic of "free money" fills the air. Formerly incapable local prison bureaucrats suddenly gain the ability to reliably identify the numbers and costs of criminal aliens in their systems. 

This magic has been provided for several years now by the  State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) administered under the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance .  The program was originally created to assist border states (rather than, as the name might imply, criminal aliens)  with the costs of incarcerating illegal immigrants who went on to violate local laws against drug running, theft, assault, murder, etc.  

As anyone who has studied the nature of government could have guessed, the SCAAP program has expanded across the nation right along with waves of illegal immigrants. This is in spite of being designated in 2003  by the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) ExpectMore.gov program as a non-performing program that should be terminated

Apparently, someone in the OMB discovered that it was too easy for state and local governments to cheat on their numbers  since , "Neither states and localities nor the Federal government can easily determine the citizenship or immigration status of suspected aliens."

Remember now, this is coming to you from the same federal government that is claims to be protecting us from known terrorists. (Note: Since no one seems to be listening to the ExpectMore.gov people, we should wonder how they rate themselves.) 

The SCAAP program is quite simple: Fill out some Federal forms listing your total costs associated with incarcerating those you have identified as likely criminal aliens in your jail system. (If you need help, there are plenty of consultants willing to help you along for a cut of the take.) File your results. Get money from the Congressionally established criminal alien assistance kitty based on your percentage of the total claims submitted.

In fiscal 2005, 758 participating state, county and city jails divied up almost a $300 million dollar pot. In 2006 the pot expanded to over $400 million dollars. Some states like North Carolina doubled their year-on-year take to over $4 million dollars. Select counties did even better. Forsyth County, North Carolina jumped up from raking in a paltry in $69,000 in 2005 to over $264,000 in 2006. Was this a crime wave of illegals, or just more accurate accounting? Local taxpayers and journalists should be asking their sheriff

Certainly, the federal paperwork on this type of program should be accessible to the public. To generate further interest, local citizens should keep in mind that the SCAAP payments from the federal government cover only a portion of the costs incurred by all the participating local jurisdictions. 

Wouldn't you and your neighbors like to know what your local jailer submitted to the federal government as the total cost criminal aliens were costing you? You can start your citizen investigation process by checking the federal awards for 2005 and 2006 (These are listed in alphabetical order by state zip code .)

After you get done with your local law enforcement officials, you can organize with fellow citizens you meet along the way to start asking your local school boards to report on the growth in costs of their English as a second language program in your public school systems. It's a great way to become a notable figure in your local town.


A recent addition to the SCAAP homepage includes this notification:

NEW! Use of SCAAP Awards: The Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109-162, Title XI) included the following requirement regarding the use of SCAAP funds: "Amounts appropriated pursuant to the authorization of appropriations in paragraph (5) that are distributed to a State or political subdivision of a State, including a municipality, may be used only for correctional purposes." Beginning with FY 2007 SCAAP awards, SCAAP funds must be used for correctional purposes only. Jurisdictions receiving SCAAP awards will be asked to report the projected use of these funds at the time the award is accepted.

We imagine the 2005 act mentioned in the announcement is in lieu of terminating the program as recommended by the OMB. How about that though? Local sheriff and police departments take subsidies from the federal government and the Feds start requiring they report what they are going to do with the money. Like the ICE program that federalizes local law enforcement personal to help catch illegals, the SCAAP program is also about to become another tentacle of the central government wrapped around our formerly independent local law enforcement agencies.

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