/ Modified mar 29, 2017 3:39 p.m.

Senators Want Arizona Reimbursed for Incarcerating Border Crossers

McCain and Flake want to ensure Arizona gets paid back through the SCAAP program.

Border Patrol ATV hero Border Patrol agents conducting patrols on ATVs in 2005. (PHOTO: Courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Arizona is owed more than $310 million from the federal government for incarcerating criminals illegally in the country, and Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake have introduced legislation to keep that program going.

The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) provides federal payments to states and counties for the costs associated with that incarceration, and it’s on the chopping block in President Donald Trump’s budget. With only four states using it, he said, it should go.

Arizona officials have complained for more than a decade that the federal government is paying much less than it is supposed to.

Rural border counties consider the program important.

“Our state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies are committed to partnering with the federal government on immigrant enforcement. But that partnership can’t succeed unless the federal government provides the necessary reimbursements for those services,” Flake said on the U.S. Senate floor.

Sen. John McCain said Arizona and other states should not be penalized for helping to secure the border.

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