BY JIM KOURI
Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech is being lauded as quintessential Barack Obama complete with human stage props to illustrate the importance of two vital parts of the President’s second-term agenda: Gun control and immigration reform, according to several political strategists who spoke with Law Enforcement Examiner following the SOTU presentation.
For example, GOP political consultant Jules Schwartz said it was difficult not to notice the crowd of family members of those victims shot and killed or wounded, who were obviously invited as props for the Democratic Party push to pass tough new gun laws. Even more noticeable, claims Schwartz, were the illegal aliens invited to sit with Democrat lawmakers and even First Lady Michelle Obama.
However, according to attorney and political activist Mike Baker, there was no mention of the enormous amount of crime committed by some illegal aliens and the cost to U.S. state governments to incarcerate the hundreds of thousands of criminal aliens who commit the types of offenses that lead to imprisonment.
At no time did the President, lawmakers in both parties, or the Obama-friendly news media mention that when the United States incarcerates criminal aliens — non-citizens convicted of crimes while in this country legally or illegally — in federal and state prisons and local jails, the federal government bears little of the costs. It pays to incarcerate criminal aliens in federal prisons and reimburses state and local governments for a portion of their costs of incarcerating some, but not all, criminal aliens illegally in the country through the Department of Justice’s State Criminal Alien Assistance Program managed by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
“In fact, at no time during Obama’s verboseness did he even mention American citizens killed or victimized by illegal aliens,” noted Det. Sgt. Georgina Holloway of the Stockton, Tenn., Sheriff’s Office.
Some state and local governments have expressed concerns about the impact that criminal aliens have on already overcrowded prisons and jails and that the federal government reimburses them for only a portion of their costs of incarcerating criminal aliens.
In the past, Congress requested that the General Accounting Office provide information concerning criminal aliens incarcerated at the federal, state, and local level. For the criminal aliens incarcerated, the state and local governments that received reimbursement through SCAAP, only received about 25 percent of the costs.
The percentage of all federal prisoners who are criminal aliens has remained the same over the last 3 years — about 27 percent. The majority of criminal aliens incarcerated were identified as citizens of Mexico.
It is estimated the federal cost of incarcerating criminal aliens — Bureau of Prison’s cost to incarcerate criminals and reimbursements to state and local governments under SCAAP — totaled approximately $5.8 billion for calendar years 2001 through 2004. BOP’s cost to incarcerate criminal aliens rose from about $950 million in 2001 to about $1.2 billion in 2004 — a 14 percent increase.
Federal reimbursements for incarcerating criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails declined from $550 million in 2001 to $280 million in 2004, in a large part due to a reduction in congressional appropriations. At the state level, the 50 states received reimbursement for incarcerating about 77,000 criminal aliens in fiscal year 2002 and 47 states received reimbursement for incarcerating about 74,000 in fiscal year 2003, according to the National Association of Counties .
For the 5 states incarcerating about 80 percent of these criminal aliens in fiscal year 2003, about 68 percent incarcerated in mid-year 2004 reported that the country of citizenship or country of birth as Mexico, the Dominican Republic, or Cuba. Four of these 5 states spent about $1.6 billion to incarcerate criminal aliens reimbursed through SCAAP during fiscal years 2002 and 2003. Estimates are that the federal government reimbursed these four states about 25 percent or less of the estimated cost to incarcerate these criminal aliens in fiscal years 2002 and 2003.
At the local level, in fiscal year 2002, SCAAP reimbursed about 750 local governments for incarcerating about 138,000 criminal aliens. In fiscal year 2003, SCAAP reimbursed about 700 local governments for about 147,000 criminal aliens, with 5 local jail systems accounting for about 30 percent of these criminal aliens. The 147,000 criminal aliens incarcerated during fiscal year 2003 spent a total of about 8.5 million days in jail. Mexico leads as the country of birth for foreign-born arrestees at these 5 local jails in fiscal year 2003.
It’s estimated that 4 of these 5 local jails spent $390 million in fiscal years 2002 and 2003 to incarcerate criminal aliens and were reimbursed about $73 million through SCAAP. It’s believed that the federal government reimbursed these localities about 25 percent or less of the criminal alien incarceration cost in fiscal years 2002 and 2003, according to Examiner.
The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor, Jim Kouri, CPP, is the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Contact Jim.