ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: STATES LOSE BID TO RECOUP COSTS
On the first day of its 1997-98 term, the U.S. Supreme CourtThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
"let stand a lower court ruling" rejecting California and
Arizona's "claim that the federal government had failed to
protect the states from an 'invasion' of illegal immigrants," San
Francisco Chronicle reports. In the suit, which was originally
filed in 1994, California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) had "argued that
the federal government should reimburse the state $15 billion to
cover the accumulated costs of providing public school education,
medical care and other services to 1.7 million illegal
immigrants" in the state. By refusing to hear the case, the
Supreme Court reaffirmed a federal appellate ruling that the
states' argument amounted to a "'political question' that had to
be resolved by Congress and the president, and not by the courts"
A LOT AT STAKE
Miami Herald notes that the case involved more than the
claims sought by Arizona and California. In a brief filed with
the Supreme Court, Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth (D)
had contended that "a crisis is at hand" in seven states "with
the greatest influx of illegal immigrants" -- Arizona,
California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York.
Butterworth further wrote that the "1996 federal welfare law will
force the states to help thousands of destitute and disabled
immigrants who are declared ineligible for federal aid" (Epstein,
DISAPPOINTMENT ... AND CHEERS
Wilson expressed "disappointment" about the court ruling
yesterday but "vowed to continue to lobby Congress to 'pay its
full share of illegal immigrant-related costs'" (San Francisco
Chronicle, 10/7). According to a spokesperson for Arizona Gov.
Jane Hull (R), the state, which had been seeking $121 million to
cover the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants, "will look
for its own solution" (Amparano,
Arizona Republic, 10/7).