AG Becerra Takes Action to Block the Trump Administration from Withholding Public Safety Grant

SACRAMENTO, Nov. 29, 2018 – California Attorney General Becerra filed an expedited motion seeking to block the Trump Administration’s attempt to withhold the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) federal grant from California. Funded by the federal government, the PSN grant is distributed by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to local law enforcement agencies to fund crime reduction initiatives. This year, the Trump Administration is attempting to arbitrarily withhold $1.5 million from the State of California, jeopardizing crime fighting resources and undermining the safety of California residents.

“These crude attempts to sabotage California law enforcement are dangerous and risk the safety of our communities,” said Attorney General Becerra. “As our state begins to heal from the devastating fires, our law enforcement agencies and CalOES should be allowed to focus on carrying out their missions, not dealing with threats from the Trump Administration. My office will continue to fight to ensure that our law enforcement agencies have access to critical resources needed to promote public safety.”

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In the motion, Attorney General Becerra argues that the U.S. Department of Justice lacks the statutory authority to impose immigration enforcement conditions on Project Safe Neighborhoods funding.

Since August 2017, in California v. Sessions I, Attorney General Becerra has challenged the federal government’s unlawful conditions on federal fiscal year 2017 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds. On October 5, 2018, the district court ruled in favor of California, holding that the immigration enforcement conditions were unlawful and unconstitutional. The court also declared that a federal statute (8 U.S.C. § 1373) that prohibits states and local jurisdictions from restricting the sharing of information regarding immigration status to be unconstitutional, and that compliance with that statute cannot be made a condition for federal funding. The Trump Administration asked the court to reconsider that decision to preserve its ability to enforce that unconstitutional law.

On November 20, 2018, the court ruled in favor of California once again and prevented the Administration from requiring compliance with 8 U.S.C. 1373 as a condition for federal funding. For this reason, Attorney General Becerra argues that this condition cannot be a basis to withhold funding from California.

A copy of the motion can be found here.