Posted on February 9, 2005

Arizona Governor Demands Reimbursement for Immigrant Criminals

Paul Davenport, AP, Feb. 8

PHOENIX — Gov. Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday that she has billed the federal government for nearly $118 million in unreimbursed costs for imprisoning illegal immigrants who committed crimes in Arizona.

If the federal government doesn’t pay, it should take custody of some 3,600 immigrant criminals now in state prisons, Napolitano said in a letter sent last week to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Napolitano released the letter — and copies of two invoices sent with it — one day after President Bush proposed eliminating funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. The program is supposed to reimburse state and local jurisdictions for costs involved in incarcerating immigrants convicted of a crime.

Justice Department spokesman Eric Holland had no immediate comment on Napolitano’s demand.