Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Bipartisan Letter Calls on Justice Department to End Blockade of Law Enforcement Grants

Nov 14, 2017
Press Release
Law Enforcement Caucus co-chairs call on Trump Administration to release over $174 million in federally appropriated Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program funds

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Dave Reichert (R-WA), co-chairs of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice expressing concerns about the delay in disbursing funds for a community crime-fighting program to states. The letter urges DOJ to release the $174 million in approved funds for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG) program, the cornerstone federal crime-fighting program that enables communities to target resources to their most pressing local needs, as soon as possible. Additionally, the letter expresses concern that the cause of the delay is related to litigation on new requirements DOJ has placed on Byrne JAG recipients related to their enforcement of federal immigration law, jeopardizing their ability to maintain law and order and do their job effectively. Click here to view the Fiscal Year 2017 Byrne JAG state and local allocations and disparate information.

Text of the bipartisan letter follows:

November 14, 2017

The Honorable Jeff Sessions
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Sessions:

As co-chairs of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, we write to express our concerns regarding the delay in disbursement of Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) funds for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) from the Department of Justice (DOJ). These funds are vital for law enforcement to successfully keep us safe. We urge your department to release these funds at the earliest possible opportunity.

Byrne JAG is a critical federal funding stream for state and local law enforcement. These community policing grants provide law enforcement in our states with much needed resources to prevent and reduce crime and terrorism. This includes funding for the implementation of state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, and equipment.

As you know, DOJ was scheduled to disburse over $174 million in Byrne JAG funds to each state and six territories in the United States. To date the DOJ has not disbursed these funds. We are concerned that additional delays in providing these funds will undermine state and local law enforcement's efforts to keep our communities safe. Therefore, we urge you to release these funds as soon as possible.

It is our understanding that the cause of the delay is related to litigation on new requirements DOJ has placed on Byrne JAG recipients related to their enforcement of federal immigration law. However, delaying these funds is punishing the law enforcement officers on the ground doing their jobs and trying to keep their communities safe. In fact, any delay in getting these much-needed resources to law enforcement jeopardizes their ability to maintain law and order and do their job effectively. As a result, communities across our nation remain more at risk every day because state and local officers don’t have access to these funds.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to working with you to support local law enforcement and ensure they have the resources needed to keep all of us safe.

Sincerely,