Posted on May 10, 2005

Feds Pay $5.8 Billion to Jail Criminal Aliens, May 10

The U.S. federal government spent $5.8 billion over the past three years to incarcerate criminal aliens—nonresidents who are in the country illegally or legally and convicted of a crime.

The report by the General Accounting Office—the investigative arm of Congress—shows the number of criminal aliens in federal prisons increased from about 42,000 at the end of 2001 to about 49,000 at the end of last year.

The direct federal costs during the study’s time frame were estimated to be $4.2 billion, with federal reimbursements to state and local governments totalling $1.6 billion through the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, or SCAAP.

The majority of criminal aliens were identified as citizens of Mexico.

In addition, state prisons in fiscal 2003 housed about 74,000 criminal aliens. About 80 percent were in just five states—Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas.

Also, about 147,000 criminal aliens were jailed in 698 local jurisdictions that received SCAAP reimbursement in 2003.

About 30 percent of those criminals were in five municipal and country jails—Los Angeles County, California; New York City, New York; Orange County, California; Harris County, Texas; and Maricopa County, Arizona.

As WorldNetDaily reported, an analysis of census data earlier this year by the Federation for American Immigration Reform showed Texas’ illegal immigrant population is costing the state’s taxpayers more than $4.7 billion per year for education, medical care and incarceration.

The uncompensated cost of incarcerating illegal aliens in Texas’ state and county prisons amounts to about $150 million a year—not including local jail detention costs or related law enforcement and judicial expenditures or the monetary costs of the crimes that led to their incarceration.

Last year, the Center for Immigration Studies used Census Bureau data from 2002 to determine that the fiscal impact of illegal aliens across the nation was $10 billion. The figure was derived from subtracting taxes paid by illegals from the value of services they enjoy.