Texas Faces Rising Cost of Immigrant Care

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    Hundreds of activists, supporters of illegal immigrants and members of the Latino community rally against a new Arizona law.

    Texas spent at least $250 million in the past year for medical care and imprisonment of illegal immigrants and other non-citizens.

    The House State Affairs Committee heard testimony in Austin. Lawmakers who convene in January could face a projected $18 billion budget shortfall.

    Jerry McGinty, with the Texas Department of Corrections, says prisons last month had 11,766 inmates who are foreign citizens and housing them costs $171 million annually. The federal government reimburses 10 percent.

    Rick Allgeyer, with the Health and Human Services Commission, said Wednesday that health care to illegal immigrants cost Texas nearly $100 million.

    Rep. Pete Gallego of Alpine says there could be significant effects if public agencies were asked to reallocate resources to check citizenship.