Napolitano Sympathetic to Perry’s Request for Funds

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently said she is sympathetic to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s request for federal money to fund incarceration of illegal immigrants, but the money must come from Congress.

Perry, the Republican governor of Texas and a candidate for his party’s presidential nomination, sent a letter to DHS earlier this month, requesting about $350 million to cover his state’s expenses for jailing undocumented immigrants. He said the federal government has been lax in securing the Mexican border, and should therefore cover Texas’ resulting financial burden.

The governor estimated these costs ran to $254.8 million for the state and $94.4 million for Texas counties between 2009 and 2010. A memo from the state’s comptroller, Susan Combs, confirmed these numbers.

Secretary Napolitano recently addressed Perry’s request at an event organized by the Christian Science Monitor. She said Perry should petition Congress, since the executive branch does not have the power to allocate the necessary funds.

She also acknowledged she sent similar letters to the federal government during her tenure as governor of Arizona, and said she understands Perry’s predicament.

Immigration policy and law have been in flux recently. DHS announced it will review all pending deportation cases and focus on those involving dangerous criminals, and the U.S. Department of Justice has sued to block Alabama’s strict new immigration law.