Monmouth County profits from federal grant

I attended the debate between the Monmouth County candidates for freeholder and the candidates for sheriff at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters in Manalapan on Oct. 23 and would like to clarify one misconception.

Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone stated that no money has been made by (the) 287(g) program and technically he is correct, but Monmouth County received over $500,000 in 2018 from the SCAAP federal grant.

SCAAP is the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program that reimburses local authorities for the lodging of undocumented immigrants while in custody.

You may ask yourself, “Wow! Do we have so many criminal immigrants that Monmouth County got $513,728 in 2018, $509,538 in 2017 and $356,360 in 2016?” That’s a lot of green, so we must be teeming with criminals.

Well, it depends on your definition of criminal. The immigrant must be undocumented and convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors. They must also stay in jail for a minimum of four consecutive days.

Consider that being undocumented in itself is considered a crime. Misdemeanors can be loitering, driving without a license, possessing a fake ID, disorderly conduct and trespassing; as you can see, it’s pretty easy to get to the two misdemeanor threshold.

Then, after all the paperwork is done, it must be validated by a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer. Gee, it sure is handy to have them working here with 287(g). Voila, $500,000.

You can look up prior SCAAP awards online. Camden County got $54,523, Sussex County got $18,749. They don’t have 287(g) agreements.

So technically, Mr. Arnone, Monmouth County does not profit from 287(g). It profits from SCAAP, which is an ugly incentive to target undocumented immigrants.

Kate Vallee
Freehold Township