Putting and keeping illegal immigrants in jail is an expensive proposition for state and local governments. For years, state local and state governments have gone to the federal government for help. Congress this year appears to be set to help again.
A bill was passed on Thursday to fund $165 million for the next fiscal year, but a Republican sponsored piece of legislation was attached that would not allow the funds to be received by “sanctuary cities” and communities that do not force laws on immigration.
Joe Walsh, a Republican Congressman from the state of Illinois said, “If states and cities do not enforce immigration laws currently on the books, then they would not receive any taxpayer’s money.”
One House Democrat said during the debate on the measure that it amounted to just campaign fodder. Immigration expert Angela Kelley from the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank, said that there is more cooperation now than ever before with regard to enforcement of immigration laws. No city anywhere in the U.S., she said does not enforce the law on immigration.
The amendment may not have a long life as the bill it was attached to fund NASA and the Commerce and Justice Departments faces a veto in the White House. However, the incarceration funding for illegal immigrants should make it through to the last bill. The funding for California has been a type priority because it receives the largest portion of the federal money due to having the largest portion of illegal immigrants both in jail and living in the state.