Pascrell Praises Another Court Decision Striking Down Trump Administration Extortion
Federal appellate court finds withholding of police funds unconstitutional
Paterson, NJ, August 1, 2018
Tags: Public Safety
Today, Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) spoke in favor of a holding today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that an executive order issued by Donald Trump ordering the Justice Department withhold police grants to so-called sanctuary cities is unconstitutional. In its ruling, the court found that “[a]bsent congressional authorization, the administration may not redistribute or withhold properly appropriated funds to effectuate its own policy goals.”
“It’s a new week, and we have a new decision blasting Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions for their extortion against our communities,” stated Rep. Pascrell. “The Trump administration’s cruel immigration actions are bad enough by themselves. They are made worse by Trump and Sessions using them as a vehicle to deny critical funds to cops. Money to which they are entitled. Like the courts, I’m becoming a broken record here. But this is important. Trump and Sessions need to drop this charade, pay communities the grants they are owed and which they desperately need, and let our police do their jobs without inference. Enough already.”
On July 27, a federal court in Illinois also rapped the Trump Justice Department for its sanctuary cities policy.
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. Last 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.