March 05, 2007

CRAPO: NORTHERN BORDERS DESERVE FEDERAL SUPPORT

Program would reimburse Idaho communities for border security costs

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo seeks federal support for Idaho communities facing financial burdens caused by illegal immigration cases. The Northern Border Prosecution Initiative Reimbursement Act (NBPI) would reimburse northern border states for the cost of prosecuting and detaining individuals for border-related crimes. Crapo, who has continually advocated this program, joined Washington Senator Maria Cantwell in reintroducing the NBPI as an amendment to the Improving America's Security Act of 2007 (S. 4), which is currently under consideration on the floor of the U.S. Senate. The NBPI is modeled after a successful program already in place for southern border states under the Southwest Prosecution Initiative Reimbursement (SPIR) program. "Communities in Idaho and other northern border states should be reimbursed for their efforts to enforce safety along our borders - a critical aspect of our national security," Crapo said. "This much-needed legislation returns valuable resources to the communities by offsetting the cost of prosecuting and detaining individuals for border-related crimes. Already, southern states are receiving federal funds for these security measures. It is time we provide our northern states with similar assistance and give them the tools they need to keep our country safe and secure."The Northern Border Prosecution Initiative Reimbursement Act would authorize $28 million in fiscal year 2008 to reimburse northern border states for the cost of prosecuting cases, detaining suspects and constructing holding spaces. Reimbursements would cover investigations and arrests initiated by federal law enforcement officers, as well as any case involving a violation of federal border security law referred to state or local authorities for prosecution. Last year, $40 million was provided to southern states through the SPIR program.Boundary County Prosecuting Attorney Jack Douglas offered his "strong support" for Crapo's efforts to attain federal compensation for the costs involved in prosecuting border-related crimes.States that would directly benefit from this legislation are Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. Last year, Crapo joined Cantwell as a lead Republican sponsor of the Northern Border Prosecution Initiative Reimbursement Act. The bill was passed in the Senate as a part of the comprehensive immigration reform bill, S.2611, but it was not enacted prior to adjournment.Corresponding legislation has also been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Rick Larsen (D-Washington).