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110th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     110-618

======================================================================



 
 ASSISTANCE FOR STATES INCARCERATING UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS CHARGED WITH 
                             CERTAIN CRIMES

                                _______
                                

  May 5, 2008.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Conyers, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1512]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 1512) to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act 
to provide for compensation to States incarcerating 
undocumented aliens charged with a felony or two or more 
misdemeanors, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as 
amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     1
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     3
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     4
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     4
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     5
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     5

                             The Amendment

    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. ASSISTANCE FOR STATES INCARCERATING UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS 
                    CHARGED WITH CERTAIN CRIMES.

  Section 241(i)(3)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
1231(i)(3)(A)) is amended by inserting ``charged with or'' before 
``convicted''.

SEC. 2. GAO STUDY AND REPORT.

  The Comptroller General of the United States annually shall submit to 
the Congress and the Secretary of Homeland Security a report 
specifying--
          (1) the number of aliens detained by a State, or a political 
        subdivision of a State, because the alien has been charged with 
        an offense, or offenses, described in section 241(i)(3)(A) of 
        the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1231(i)(3)(A)), 
        as amended by section 1 of this Act; and
          (2) the costs associated with incarcerating such aliens.

                          Purpose and Summary

    The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) was 
originally created to provide financial assistance to States 
and localities for costs they incur as a result of 
incarcerating criminal aliens. Currently States and localities 
are only reimbursed for a portion of these expenditures. H.R. 
1512 amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to reflect the 
original intent of Congress, which is to provide financial 
assistance to States and localities for costs they incur as a 
result of incarcerating aliens who are either charged with or 
convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    SCAAP was created in 1994 to reimburse States and 
localities for the arrest, incarceration, and transportation 
costs associated with criminal aliens. The SCAAP program is 
administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), which 
is part of DOJ's Office of Justice Programs (OJP). The 
Department of Homeland Security aids BJA in administering the 
program by verifying the immigration status (or lack of status) 
of those for whom States seek reimbursement.
    Currently States and localities are only reimbursed for 
incarcerating criminal aliens who are ``convicted of a felony 
or two or more misdemeanors'' and incarcerated for at least 
four consecutive days. In 2003, the Department of Justice (DOJ) 
reinterpreted the statute establishing SCAAP in a way that 
caused a drastic reduction in the amount of reimbursements 
received under the Program. Under this reinterpretation, 
reimbursement is made only if: (1) the criminal alien is 
convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors; and (2) the arrest 
and conviction occurred in the same fiscal year.
    H.R. 1512 restores SCAAP as it was originally intended to 
be, by amending the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit 
States and localities to be reimbursed for the costs of 
incarcerating aliens who are either ``charged with or 
convicted'' of a felony or two misdemeanors, regardless of the 
fiscal year of the incarceration and conviction.
    This bill has been introduced in every Congress since the 
108th with bipartisan support.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
1512.

                        Committee Consideration

    On September 25, 2007, the Subcommittee on Immigration, 
Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law 
met in open session and ordered the bill, H.R. 1512, favorably 
reported, without amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being 
present. On October 24, 2007, the Committee met in open session 
and ordered the bill, H.R. 1512, favorably reported with an 
amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there 
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of 
H.R. 1512.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 1512, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, December 7, 2007.
Hon. John Conyers, Jr., Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1512, a bill to 
amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for 
compensation to States incarcerating undocumented aliens 
charged with a felony or two or more misdemeanors.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz.
            Sincerely,
                                           Peter R. Orszag,
                                                          Director.

    Enclosure.

H.R. 1512--A bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to 
        provide for compensation to States incarcerating undocumented 
        aliens charged with a felony or two or more misdemeanors.

    H.R. 1512 would direct the Government Accountability Office 
to prepare a report each year on the costs to States and 
localities to incarcerate undocumented aliens charged with 
certain offenses. CBO estimates that the report would cost less 
than $1 million annually from appropriated funds. Enacting the 
bill would not affect direct spending or revenues. H.R. 1512 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no 
costs on State, local, or tribal governments.
    H.R. 1512 also would modify the State Criminal Alien 
Assistance Program (SCAAP), a grant program administered by the 
Department of Justice (DOJ). Under SCAAP, DOJ may reimburse 
States and localities for costs to incarcerate undocumented 
aliens who have been convicted of certain crimes. H.R. 1512 
would allow jurisdictions to apply for reimbursement when such 
aliens have been charged with those offenses.
    Current law authorizes the appropriation of $950 million 
annually over the 2008-2011 period for SCAAP. For fiscal year 
2007, the authorization level for the program was $850 million, 
and the Congress appropriated about $400 million. In 2007, 
however, States and localities applied to SCAAP for 
reimbursements totaling over $950 million.
    Because H.R. 1512 would not change the current 
authorization levels for SCAAP and would not affect DOJ's 
current reimbursement policy, CBO estimates that the proposed 
changes to that program would have no cost to the Federal 
Government. Implementing this legislation probably would 
increase total applications for reimbursement under the 
program. DOJ's current policy, however, is to approve 
reimbursements to States for the costs of persons who have been 
incarcerated for at least four consecutive days. We expect that 
few individuals who have not been convicted of crimes would be 
held for that long.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
This estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 
1512 will reconfirm the original congressional intent that each 
eligible State that applies for reimbursement under the State 
Criminal Alien Assistance Program be expeditiously compensated 
for the costs of incarcerating undocumented aliens charged with 
or convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds authority for 
this legislation in article I, section 8, clause 4 of the 
Constitution.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 1512 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
    Sec. 1. Assistance for States Incarcerating Undocumented 
Aliens Charged with Certain Crimes. Section 1 amends the 
Immigration and Nationality Act to reflect the original intent 
of Congress, which is that funding be made available to States 
and localities for the purpose of reimbursing them for their 
cost of incarcerating aliens who are charged with or convicted 
of a felony or two misdemeanors.
    Sec. 2. GAO Study and Report. Section 2 requires the 
Comptroller General of the United States to submit to the 
Congress a report specifying the number of aliens detained by a 
State or a political subdivision of a State because that alien 
was charged with an offense described in section 241(i)(3)(A) 
of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the costs associated 
with incarcerating such aliens.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                  SECTION 241 OF THE IMMIGRATION AND 
                            NATIONALITY ACT


            DETENTION AND REMOVAL OF ALIENS ORDERED REMOVED

    Sec. 241. (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (i) Incarceration.--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (3) For purposes of this subsection, the term 
``undocumented criminal alien'' means an alien who--
          (A) has been charged with or convicted of a felony or 
        two or more misdemeanors; and

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *