AG Becerra Demands Answers on Federal Immigration Enforcement Conditions Placed on State and Local Public Safety Funding

SACRAMENTO, Sept. 11, 2018 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today continued his defense of funding for state and local law enforcement, submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Department of Justice. The FOIA seeks information about the Trump Administration’s unconstitutional attempt to commandeer California law enforcement agencies into enforcing federal immigration law by withholding critical funds for public safety.

“Why would the Trump Administration want to make our communities more vulnerable by withholding millions of dollars in critical public safety grants from local police and sheriffs? Our men and women who wear the badge and our communities deserve answers,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We will continue fighting to ensure that law enforcement can access critical resources needed to promote public safety.”

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In today’s FOIA request, Attorney General Becerra is seeking records that detail the justification for the Administration’s attempt to impose these requirements and any evidence or data used by the Administration to inform its decision to impose these requirements.

For the 2018 fiscal year, Congress appropriated Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds, of which $28.9 million in funds is allocated to the State of California and its local jurisdictions. By law, every state and local jurisdiction is entitled to a share of JAG funds. This year, the Trump Administration built on the new requirements they imposed on JAG funds in 2017, adding even more immigration-enforcement conditions to these important public safety grants. Attorney General Becerra challenged the immigration conditions attached to JAG funds for fiscal year 2017, and filed a lawsuit in August to fight the Administration’s unlawful conditions on the grant for fiscal year 2018.

Attorney General Becerra has been steadfast in his fight against the federal government’s overreach, standing up for state and local governments’ efforts to limit their entanglement with federal immigration enforcement. In addition to today’s actions, in June 2017, and he led nine states and the District of Columbia in filing a friend-of-the-court brief to support the City and County of San Francisco, the County of Santa Clara, and the City of Richmond in their challenge to the Trump Administration’s executive order targeting jurisdictions that did not embrace the federal government’s immigration enforcement agenda.

On July 5, 2018, Attorney General Becerra secured a legal victory in USA v. California, when a judge in the Eastern District of California denied the federal government’s motion for a preliminary injunction against two of California’s public safety laws: SB 54, the California Values Act and AB 103, relating to the review of detention facilities. On July 9, 2018, in that same case, Attorney General Becerra secured the dismissal of the United States’ claims in their entirety with respect to SB 54 and AB 103.

A copy of the FOIA request is available here.