AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Gov. Rick Perry has asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for nearly $350 million to cover the costs he says Texas has incurred incarcerating illegal immigrants in state prisons and county jails.
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Perry reiterated a claim he’s often leveled against the federal government: that it’s not doing enough to secure the border with Mexico and as a result has allowed illegal immigrants to enter the U.S. and use taxpayer-funded resources, including the prison system.
The letter was dated Aug. 10, three days before the Republican governor formally announced he is running for president.
Perry is not the first governor to try to bill the federal government for the costs of incarcerating illegal immigrants. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer sued the DHS in February seeking compensation for incarceration costs, among other things.
And Napolitano herself, who preceded Brewer as Arizona governor, regularly sent the Justice Department invoices seeking such reimbursement.