County Seeks Funds for Jailed Illegal Immigrants

Video Conferencing Jails Map

(Best Syndication News) A new policy by the Department of Justice could reduce the amount of money San Bernardino County receives for jailing illegal immigrants. This applies specifically to illegal aliens who have committed a crime and are locked up in the county jail.

The U.S. government already provides some money as reimbursement, according to First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt. But a new plan could reduce that amount.

“The federal government reimburses the county for a small fraction of our costs for incarcerating illegal immigrants who commit crimes in our jurisdiction, and now, through a unilateral administrative decision, they have modified the formula that will cut that funding further,” Mitzelfelt tells Best Syndication.

The Sheriff’s Department estimates that the cost to incarcerate undocumented criminal aliens in Fiscal Year 2010-11 was $17.3 million. Over the last 14 years the county has received $14.9 million from the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program for incarcerating illegal immigrants.

The county budgeted $1.5 million in assistance this year. But a reduction in federal spending could put a bigger burden on the county.

The Federal government will no longer reimburse the cost for incarceration of inmates with an unknown immigration status. The county will likely lose money because of this decision.

The Board of Supervisors authorized a letter be sent to Department of Justice. The county would like reimbursement for inmates with an unknown immigration status.

There is some good news. The county began screening inmates in 2006 to determine whether they are here illegally or not. Because of this change, along with a new teleconferencing system at remote jails, fewer inmates fall into the unknown status category.

By: Dan Wilson

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