State Capitol News
11:09 am
Wed January 6, 2010

State Treasuer criticizes Governor for releasing immigrants from prison

Phoenix, AZ – There already is a program allowing the state to turn some
inmates convicted of minor crimes over to Immigration and Customs
Enforcement after completing half their terms. Brewer's new order
affects about 400 others ineligible for that release. And they
would get out only 90 days early. Martin said that's still a
mistake.

(I don't believe that we should balance this budget by releasing
prisoners early. I don't care where they come from. That's not
the way to balance the budget. Collecting on your bad debts is
the way to balance the budget.)

That bad debt refers to the fact the federal government is
supposed to reimburse states for the cost of incarcerating
illegal immigrants who have committed state crimes. But Congress
has never appropriated enough money to cover all the costs, with
Arizona's reimbursement rate just a fraction of what it bills.
Martin, a possible gubernatorial contender, not only faulted
Brewer for her plan to save $1.9 million this year but also
lashed out at Attorney General Terry Goddard, also running for
governor, for not filing suit. But Tim Nelson, Goddard's chief
deputy, said Martin doesn't know what he's talking about.

(If there were any way to sue the feds to make this payment we
would have done it. Unfortunately, Congress amended the statute
to specifically preclude any type of lawsuit against the United
States for a violation of this mandate.)