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Mr. Speaker, we have talked a lot about the different entities that don't pay their bills, but the U.S. Federal Government is also a culprit that does not pay its bills. Let me explain.
The 9/11 Families for a Secure America Organization say that 32 percent of all people incarcerated in the United States for crimes other than immigration violations are in the United States illegally! With Texas being a border State, we get a lot more of these criminals in our jails than the rest of the country.
The administration wants to eliminate a program that helps Texas pay for keeping these criminals in jail. It's called the SCAAP program. We have porous borders because the Federal Government does not secure those borders. When a criminal alien sneaks into the United States, commits a crime, the State government must be financially responsible for the capture and trial of that individual, not the Federal Government, even though border security is a Federal responsibility. That forces Texas to foot the bill for their medical care and feeding them and housing them in jail. Sometimes Texas taxpayers are on the hook for paying for their lawyer and other related costs.
The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, the SCAAP Program, doesn't even come close to covering the cost of keeping these criminal aliens in Texas prisons, but it helps. However, the administration wants to take away what little the Federal Government does send to Texas and other border States, thus making the cost of border crime the responsibility of State governments rather than the Federal Government.
Texas Governor Rick Perry today sent a letter to the President asking him to reconsider cutting the SCAAP program. As a practical matter, I side with the notion the Federal budget should be cut. There's enough waste in the budget this year to keep the bureaucrats busy for years trying to weed it all out. But this is not an example of wasteful spending, far from it. This expense is because the Federal Government refuses to secure the borders and, thus, border States are stuck with the cost of crime created by foreign nationals and housing them after they are convicted.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reports it cost Texas taxpayers $143 million to keep over 13,000 criminal aliens in Texas prisons just last year. These are major crimes. These are felonies. The SCAAP program the bureaucrats want to eliminate only paid $18 million of these costs. These criminal aliens serving time in Texas are not there for an overnight stay. They are in prison for violent crimes like rape, murder, kidnapping, and child abuse. Instead of eliminating the Federal program that helps pay for these costs, it ought to be expanded, or the Federal Government should take these prisoners.
Here's an idea. How about we send these criminal aliens to the Federal facility in Gitmo? I hear there may be some room in that facility soon. It's a nice place as far as Federal prisons go. I've been there and have seen it for myself. They play soccer. They have hot meals that are fit for a Sunday dinner table. There's plenty of sunshine and fresh air, quite a step up from the overcrowded prisons in Texas and other border States.
Or we should charge foreign countries the costs of housing their citizens that are illegally in the United States that have committed felonies. If they won't pay up, we can cut off their visas until they do pay up. Or, in most cases, we should j