Attorney General Issues Report On Recovery Of Immigration Costs

DENVER – As required by statute (HB 06S-1014), Attorney General John Suthers today issued a report detailing possible methods of recovering costs incurred by the State in dealing with illegal immigration.

The report first details some of the financial burden on the State, including nearly $36 million in incarceration costs alone, and outlines two possible sources of cost reduction and reimbursement: federal legislation and litigation. With respect to litigation, the report concludes that litigation against the federal government for reimbursement of costs or to enforce existing immigration laws is unlikely to succeed. As outlined in the report, six other states have attempted to sue the federal government for reimbursement, but each was dismissed by the court before ever going to trial. Nonetheless, as directed by the recently passed Referendum K, the Attorney General plans to file suit in the coming months and will seek funding for such litigation from the General Assembly.

With respect to Congressional action, Suthers says in the report that, “The best solution to the problem caused by illegal immigration is for the federal government to enforce existing immigration laws, pass stronger immigration laws, and to reduce the number of illegal immigrants allowed to enter and stay in the United States. He goes on to recommend that, “the best prospect for Colorado to obtain increased federal funding of the costs of illegal immigration is Congressional action to fully fund programs to offset the high costs of illegal immigration imposed on state and local governments.”

Attorney General Suthers recently discussed the issue with United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, as well as every other Attorney General in the nation to seek advice on possible legal remedies.

“I will continue to press the issue with federal authorities, including the Colorado congressional delegation,” said Suthers, “and I call on our state executive branch and legislative leaders to join me in doing so. The costs are enormous, and it is unacceptable that the federal government remains largely unaccountable on this issue.”

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