The state of Florida has filed a $1.5 billion lawsuit against the federal government, alleging it's failed to pay costs the state has incurred in the past 10 years to provide illegal immigrants with healthcare, schooling and prison space.
Gov. Lawton Chiles said the state's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, is the first of its kind in the nation.
"We do have a real argument with the federal government about an immigration policy that's created a recurring nightmare for state and local governments in Florida and for our taxpayers," Mr. Chiles said.
Meanwhile, Gov. Mario Cuomo has indicated that New York may join the suit. Mr. Cuomo supports the suit's goals, a spokesman said, adding that there's a good chance New York will intervene, although no timetable has been set for making a decision.
In the year ended March 31, 1994, New York spent about $970 million on illegal aliens, including some $200 million on healthcare and other social services.
Last month, Mr. Chiles released a report that said Florida in 1993 alone paid $13 million for social services and healthcare for illegal immigrants.
Joining the state in the suit is the Dade Public Health Trust, which operates Jackson Memorial Hospital, a 1,000-bed public hospital in Miami that treats a large number of illegal immigrants.