U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wants the federal government to step up to the plate and help communities, particularly along the border with Mexico, pay for the costs of incarcerating criminal undocumented immigrants.

Cornyn said on Thursday that the responsibility rests with the federal government, not local governments, and he's absolutely correct.

It's similar to the feds abdicating their responsibility when it comes to adequately enforcing border security. Texas has been forced to take on some of the burden for personnel, equipment and financial aspects of keeping the border secure, when that burden should be on the federal government.

When a criminal undocumented immigrant is jailed, that should be the financial responsibility of the feds. But the feds are underfunding the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which leaves states to pick up the tab.

Cornyn wants to add money to the program to keep it funded at the same operational level it is now. The Senate currently aims to cut the appropriation for 2010.

El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos said, "Right now, the county government is subsidizing the federal government's laws. An increase in that funding would give more communities more money, and I can't think of a single community that would be impacted more positively than El Paso.

Even if Cornyn's co-sponsoring of two amendments to SCAAP works, El Paso officials say that the county will still have to ante up for what is a federal responsibility.

At least Cornyn is willing to make the effort and is showing concern for the El Paso and border areas. This is a lean time for state and local governments. While federal elected officials are tossing around hundreds of billions of dollars with careless abandon and bloating themselves with pork, El Paso and other border communities are having to do a lot of belt-tightening.

The feds should send a little of that money to the border and stand behind their responsibilities.

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El Paso Times