Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Noriega Refuses to Fight For Texas Communities

Now this is just just dosen't seem right to me. What's Noriega's problem. Why should we have to pay for border jumpers.

AUSTIN—At a news conference Monday on his new “Education plan,” U.S. Senate candidate Rick Noriega refused to say whether he would seek federal reimbursement for local communities burdened by soaring enrollment from undocumented immigrants.
Asked twice about whether federal funds should help offset higher education costs incurred by local school districts because of porous federal borders, Noriega twice declined to answer directly.
The Houston Chronicle reported today that “A report from the state comptroller's office in 2005 estimated the annual cost of a public education for an estimated 151,000 undocumented children in Texas schools was $957 million for the 2004-05 school year.” (R.G. Ratcliffe, “Noriega, Cornyn disagree on illegal-immigrant issue: Cornyn wants feds to reimburse state for education; Noriega doesn't,” Houston Chronicle, 09/09/08)
$957 million…that’s nearly $1 BILLION coming out of the Texas taxpayers pockets every year, and Rick Noriega doesn’t see any reason for them to be reimbursed.
Senator John Cornyn believes strongly in the value of a good education and he also believes that we have a responsibility to educate all of our children, no matter their circumstances. He does not believe, however, that Texans should be left holding the billion dollar tab for the federal government’s failures.
To that end, Senator Cornyn has strongly advocated federal reimbursement for the added costs to localities stemming from lax border enforcement, including costs of policing, other law enforcement, and health care expenditures. Working with others in the Texas delegation, he has obtained U.S. funding to step-up supplements for border sheriffs, hospitals and schools such as the John Cornyn Head Start pre-school in Mission, Texas.
Cornyn campaign spokesman Kevin McLaughlin faulted Noriega’s priorities. “State Rep. Noriega wants the government to pay for a host of activities that are not its responsibility—such as public financing of elections. He has now published four policy position papers—each one seeking a massive expansion of federal responsibility and a corresponding increase in federal government spending.”
Common Cause estimates that it would cost $1.75 billion each election cycle to publicly finance elections in the United States. So, by his logic, Rick Noriega believes we should finance negative ads instead of education. (Breaking Free With Fair Elections: A New Declaration of Independence for Congress, March 2007)
“But when the federal government is directly responsible for an existing problem, Rep. Noriega falls silent. He won’t fight for Texas communities trying to cope with the federal government’s lapses? This represents a bizarre set of priorities,” McLaughlin added.
Federal reimbursement programs for costs states incur regarding illegal immigrants are nothing new. Senator Cornyn championed bipartisan legislation which reimbursed local law enforcement for costs they incur and he also led a bipartisan effort to reimburse states and local governments for health care and education costs, as well.
Senator Cornyn’s Bipartisan Record On Reimbursing Border States
Senator Cornyn Cosponsored the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program Reauthorization Bill: Authorized funding to reimburse state and local governments for incarceration costs related to illegal aliens. In 2004, Texas received $24.7 million under SCAAP. In 2005, Senator Cornyn worked to increase the funding and was successful in obtaining $26.5 million for Texas. (H.R. 3402. Passed Senate on 12/16/05 by unanimous consent. On 1/5/06 became Public Law No. 109-162

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