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GOP bill forces feds to pay states for detention, education costs of illegals

MCALLEN, TX - SEPTEMBER 08: Women and children wait in a holding cell at a U.S. Border Patrol processing center after being detained by agents near the U.S.-Mexico border on September 8, 2014 near McAllen, Texas. Thousands of immigrants, many of them families and unaccompanied minors, continue to cross illegally into the United States, although the numbers are down from a springtime high. Texas' Rio Grande Valley area is the busiest sector for illegal border crossings into the United States. John Moore/Getty Images

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) has proposed new legislation that would require the federal government to reimburse states for the costs they incur by detaining and educating illegal immigrants.

Her Accountability in Foreign Aid Act reflects a longstanding Republican complaint that states are bearing the brunt of the Obama administration's failure to enforce the border, and attempts to allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the country.

Women and children wait in a holding cell at a U.S. Border Patrol processing center after being detained by agents near the U.S.-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas. A new GOP bill would require the federal government to pay states for the costs of housing and educating illegal immigrants. John Moore/Getty Images

The GOP has said the administration's clear preference for easing immigration rules has attracted millions of illegal immigrants, and played a major role in the border crisis earlier this year.

"The situation at the border is unprecedented — children are coming into our states at a rate that will overwhelm our local communities and their available resources," Ellmers said Wednesday. "These children are being funneled into our public schools and our hospitals are forced to provide emergency care, but our states are given no financial assistance to deal with this ongoing problem."

"Rather than continue to supply an endless amount of foreign aid abroad, it's time we redirect funding sent overseas and prioritize our local governments who are left footing the bill," she added.

Ellmers cited a Newsmax article saying that states will spend $761 million just to educate undocumented immigrants.

Her legislation would require the secretary of the Treasury to reimburse states and political subdivisions within states for expenses related to handling "aliens having no lawful immigration states in the United States."

Those expenses including detention, schooling and other costs such as emergency medical treatment. The only reasons why the federal government would not have to reimburse states is if states don't provide documentation for their costs.

The money given to states would come from a portion of discretionary funds given to the Department of State's foreign operations programs from 2016 to 2021.

Earlier this year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) called on Congress to reimburse Texas for its efforts to control the border for the last few years. The border bill passed by the House on August 1 included money to pay for the deployment of the National Guard in Texas, but that bill was never considered by the Senate.

Read Ellmers' legislation here:

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