Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday offered yet another way California can save on incarcerating illegal immigrants: send them to Mexico.
The Republican governor said he will not raise taxes for a second year in a row during a speech at the Sacramento Press Club. Instead, he suggested that the state can find plenty of money in other ways such as cutting pension costs, allowing offshore oil drilling and lowering prison expenditures.
Schwarzenegger's budget plan calls for an $880 million infusion from the federal government to pay for housing illegal immigrant prisoners who have committed crimes in California. The governor also wants to rely more on private prison companies to run the state's corrections facilities.
But he later gave an off-the-cuff suggestion that California should send its undocumented inmates to Mexico and help our southern neighbor build a new prison to house them.
"In the prison system alone, we can go and take inmates, for instance, the 20,000 inmates that are illegal immigrants that are here, and get them to Mexico," Schwarzenegger said.
The governor said California could save "half the costs" of incarceration by helping Mexico build a prison to house those inmates and then spend the savings on education. The governor, of course, has proposed an initiative that would require the state to spend more on higher education than prisons.
Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said the governor has no official plan to send Mexico money to build a prison.
"It's an idea that people have mentioned to him," McLear said. "We need to spend less on prisons and more on higher education, and he thinks we ought to debate any creative solutions to do that."
Update: There appears to be a problem with the video embed. We will add the clip again once the glitch is fixed.