Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Pascrell Lauds Court Ruling Against Trump on Withholding Local Police Grants

Jul 27, 2018
Press Release
Federal court again finds that Trump and Sessions should stop using law enforcement as political pawns in anti-immigrant crusade

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) spoke in strong support of a decision handed down this morning which again ruled against the Trump administration and the Sessions Justice Department for withholding millions in federal grants for state and local police departments.

“Once again the courts are rejecting the Department of Justice’s foolish argument to force its right-wing immigration agenda down the throats of states and municipalities. The Trump administration should never have held these federal funds hostage. It is an insult to law enforcement and the communities they serve. It also endangers the safety of Americans whose police departments rely on these funds. As I have been saying for nearly a year, Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions must release these funds right now so the brave men and women in law enforcement can do their jobs keeping communities safe.”

New Jersey received $4.27 million in Byrne JAG grant funds in 2016. Thirteen counties and 41 towns and municipalities were awarded $1.82 million in grant funding in the FY 2017 budget. Under estimates tabulated by the federal Bureau of Justice Affairs, New Jersey was set to receive $4.04 million in FY 2017. Therefore, as New Jersey’s lawsuit highlights, the state is being denied a total of $5,871,599 in critical law enforcement support that is being held captive on the altar of the Trump administration’s cruel immigration policies.

The Byrne JAG program allows states and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crimes based on their own local needs and conditions.  Grants can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and information systems for criminal justice for any one or more of the following programs: (1) law enforcement; (2) prosecution and the courts; (3) prevention and education; (4) corrections and community corrections; (5) drug treatment; and (6) planning, evaluation, and technology improvement.

The co-chair of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, Rep. Pascrell has been one of the foremost leaders in Congress in seeking to protect Byrne JAG and other key funding streams for state and local law enforcement. This week Pascrell stood in Newark City Hall with New Jersey elected officials in support of Attorney General Grewal’s new lawsuit against the Trump administration for continuing to hold hostage Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG). In November 2017, Pascrell led nine members of the New Jersey congressional delegation in pushing the Trump administration to release its Byrne JAG grant money. Later that month, Pascrell and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA-08) penned a bipartisan letter urging the Justice Department to end its embargo of $174 million in approved Byrne JAG funds earmarked for police departments throughout the country, arguing that the administration’s posture “jeopardizes [police departments’ ability] to maintain law and order and do their job effectively.” In December 2017, Pascrell and Reichert led 94 House of Representatives members demanding the release of all withheld Byrne JAG money.