Thursday, May 14, 2009

Federal-Feeding Frenzy on Border

Border counties, in particular, are already recipients of special federal law-enforcement assistance programs administered by DOJ and Homeland Security. Border governors and representatives are seizing the alarm about drug-related violence in Mexico (with little evidence of any cross-border spillover) to demand increased federal aid.
A Republican-led effort, for example, wants to expand the Justice Department’s Operation Stonegarden, which provides $60 million in annual aid to border law-enforcement agencies, to $500 million every year – even though there is no evidence that the post-Sept. 11 program has done anything to reduce cross-border organized crime or terrorism.
Typically, border county sheriffs simply incorporate the special funding into their annual budgets, writing off overtime and equipment purchases to the federal grants, with little or no reference to program objectives. Another post-Sept. 11 initiative focusing on border counties and states is the Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative, which, like SCAAP, is funded by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance with an annual allocation of about $30 million.
All along the border, state and local governments have seized the post-Sept 11 fear about homeland security to underwrite their own detention centers, sheriff departments, and criminal justice complexes.
A new lobbying effort mounted by the U.S./Mexico Border Counties Coalition is illustrative of the way the criminal justice complex is self-serving and self-supporting with respect to its criminal-alien fueled expansion. Formed in the late 1990s with a Justice Department grant to recommend what the criminal justice system in the border counties needed with respect to undocumented immigrants, the coalition has recently launched – once again with a DOJ grant – a lobbying campaign for “full” funding for the Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative, SCAAP, and new comprehensive criminal alien program it calls the Southwest Border County Law Enforcement Program.
In a report written for the coalition by the School of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Arizona, the coalition demands the federal government “fully reimburse the 24 border counties for the costs of law enforcement and criminal justice services—annually for as long as undocumented immigrant criminal activities continue.” Never mentioned in the 155-page University of Arizona report on the costs of law enforcement and criminal justice services is that at least half of the 24 border counties in the coalition have recently established in collaboration with private prison companies special detention centers – contracted by ICE, USMS, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons -- for immigrant detainees and prisoners, whose associated per-diems have in many cases proved a boon to country budgets.
See New CIP Policy Report: Immigrant Crackdown Joins Failed Crime and Drug Wars

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