Trump Administration Makes Second Attempt to Withhold Federal Public Safety Dollars from California, AG Becerra Takes Fight to Court

For second year in a row, Trump Administration institutes unconstitutional conditions on federal grant for local and state law enforcement

SACRAMENTO August 23, 2018 – For the second year in a row, the Trump Administration has placed unlawful and unreasonable immigration conditions on a federal grant for local and state law enforcement. Today, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the Administration’s conditions.

“Yet again, the Trump Administration is withholding millions of dollars in critical public safety grants from local police and sheriffs. This doesn’t make our communities safer – it leaves them more vulnerable,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Law enforcement agencies in California and nationwide deserve access to critical resources needed to promote public safety, and we will continue to fight on their behalf.”

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For the 2018 fiscal year, Congress appropriated $28.9 million in law enforcement funds to the State and its local jurisdictions through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program. Every state is entitled by law 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.

Today’s lawsuit seeks to halt the Administration’s unlawful conditions on the JAG grant for fiscal year 2018. The action also asks the court to order the U.S. Department of Justice to issue the grant awards without requiring the State to certify that it will adhere to the unlawful requirements. The California Department of Justice filed a similar lawsuit last year over the 2017 conditions; this litigation remains ongoing.

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, 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 law enforcement policies 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 Court 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 o f 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.