June 14, 2011 5:29 PM
From Staff Reports

SAN BERNARDINO • Echoing a message by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly earlier this month, 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt on Tuesday called on the federal government to pick up a greater share of the county’s tab for jailing illegal alien inmates.

At a meeting Tuesday morning the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved filing an application under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which covers a portion of local costs to incarcerate illegal immigrants.

It cost the county about $17.9 million to jail criminal aliens in 2009-10, according to a release from Mitzelfelt. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials project the federal government will reimburse the county between $1 million and $2 million for the same period.

“The federal government has shirked its responsibility for securing our borders, and compounded that failure by pushing the burden of incarcerating criminal illegal immigrants onto local jurisdictions,” Mitzelfelt said in a statement. “Those costs should be the full responsibility of the federal government.”

Over 13 years, the county has received a total of $13.8 million in reimbursements from SCAAP, most recently getting $1.58 million for 2008-09, according to the release. SCAAP funds may only be used for correctional purposes.

Donnelly has released an open letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to reimburse California for the $858 million the state spent on housing 16,902 illegal-immigrant inmates in 2010. Last year SCAAP reimbursed the state roughly 10 percent of the cost, according to Donnelly.

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