Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of six other Attorneys General in filing a brief in her suit against the Trump administration’s efforts to punish so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions by putting immigration-related conditions on the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program (Byrne JAG), a federal law enforcement grant.
“The federal government does not have the authority to unilaterally strip funding from local law enforcement for political gain,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Our cities and states know best how to protect those in their jurisdiction and should not be strong-armed into enforcing policies that will only work to undermine public safety and security. We will continue to fight against these political attacks and ensure our communities are protected.”
In November 2018, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of New York and the other plaintiff States in the suit, concluding that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) lacks the authority to condition these vital public safety funds on compliance with the new immigration-related conditions. The District Court also permanently enjoined DOJ from imposing the new conditions on the Byrne JAG awards, and directed DOJ to restore the nearly $25 million in FY 2017 Byrne JAG grants that New York and other plaintiff States were entitled to by federal statute, without the unlawful immigration-related conditions. The Trump administration appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The other plaintiffs represented in the suit include the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.