Posted on December 16, 2004

Immigration Incarceration Heart of Debate

David M. Drucker, Los Angeles Daily News, Dec. 14

SACRAMENTO — Adding to the immigration debate, state Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero has scheduled a hearing Thursday in Los Angeles on the cost of holding illegal-immigrant convicts in state prisons and why the federal government isn’t paying more.

Romero, D-Los Angeles, estimated the state pays as much as $868 million a year to incarcerate up to 28,000 felons who are immigrants, including many who entered the country illegally.

The prison system costs state taxpayers about $6 billion a year, and the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the current budget deficit at $6.7 billion.