A Texas state legislator has written a letter to Mexican President Felipe Calderon asking for reimburse for the services the state provides to illegal immigrants.
State Rep. Lyle Larson, a Republican from San Antonio, sent the letter in late March, saying Texas spends between $6 billion and $8 billion a year on the estimated 1.6 million illegals in the state, including for health care, education, housing and incarceration.
He admitted to San Antonio's KSAT-TV Texas probably won't see a check from Mexico anytime soon, but said he hopes the letter will start a dialogue between the two countries.
“We need to sit down and figure this out from an economic viewpoint,” Larson told the San Antonio Express-News. “I don't believe anybody I'm aware of has asked the people in power in Mexico for compensation.”
In lieu of cash, he suggested Mexico allow U.S. companies enter mineral-rich areas of northern Mexico and collect the resources as a kind of in-kind payment, KSAT reported. Such a deal could benefit both the Texas and Mexico economies, he said, as the companies could employ Mexicans.
Larson told the station Calderon received his letter because the Mexican consulate in San Antonio contacted officials in Austin to follow up on the request.
A spokesman for the Mexican embassy told the Express-News neither the embassy nor Calderon has received the letter.
Larson previously filed a bill that would require agencies and organizations that receive state funding to determine citizenship status before providing services.
In August, Texas Gov. Rick Perry billed the federal government nearly $350 million for the state's cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants, three days before launching his ill-fated bid for the GOP nomination for president of the United States.