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November 30, 2017


Madigan & 10 AGs Challenge Unlawful Withholding of Public Safety Grants

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan along with 10 attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California opposing the federal government's efforts to cut off federal public safety grants to "sanctuary" cities.

The amicus brief, filed in California v. Sessions, argues that the federal government's threats to withhold grants that are provided through the U.S. Department of Justice's Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program are unlawful, jeopardize public health and safety, and endanger the trust that members of immigrant communities have in local law enforcement. DOJ has threatened to withhold grants from 38 "sanctuary" jurisdictions in an attempt to pressure them to enforce federal immigration law.

The attorneys general argue that the these threats unlawfully interfere with local jurisdictions' prerogative "to enact and implement policies that promote public safety, prevent crime, and facilitate positive and productive interactions between local law enforcement and all of their residents, regardless of immigration status."

In part, the brief states:

"State and local government officials are in the best position to make judgments about how to allocate scarce resources to serve the particular public safety needs of their local communities. Those officials frequently recognize that using state and local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal civil immigration laws can divert critical resources—including the time and attention of officers—away from other pressing needs."

Madigan was joined in the brief by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.


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