President Bush’s proposed new fedeal budget contains no money to help states pay for jailing illegal immigrants, says teh Los Angeles Times. Bush did the same thing in previous budgets, forcing California and other border states to lobby Congress. For the current fiscal year, lobbying succeeded in securing $405 million nationwide, $100 million more than the 2005 budget provided. Fights for any programs not related to security are expected to be tougher this year as Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress, have signaled a more determined effort to reduce the budget deficit.
Reimbursing states for jailing illegal immigrants has enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress. Rep. David Dreier pledged to “work aggressively with my colleagues to ensure this vital program receives the funding that our local law enforcement needs.” This year, California expects to receive $107 million in federal funds – only a portion of the $662 million it expects to spend for jailing illegal immigrants convicted of crimes. The Bush administration contends that money is better spent tightening border security and enforcing immigration laws.