On Wednesday, July 18, New Jersey sued the US Department of Justice (DOJ) over the Trump administration’s policy that attaches immigration enforcement conditions to federal public safety grants. These conditions have already cost New Jersey taxpayers over $4 million in federal public safety grants, given several New Jersey “sanctuary state” policies.
In New Jersey, federal immigration officials are denied entry into the state’s jails. Also, local and state police are not permitted to provide advance information to federal immigration authorities related to the release of an immigrant from state custody. Both policies are contrary to the Trump administration’s requirement that local, county, and state law enforcement and correctional facility officials fully cooperate with federal immigration reporting and enforcement measures.
In a statement, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal called the administration’s immigration-based conditions “illegal” and said they were “essentially holding hostage a critical source of crime-fighting and public safety funding.” Attorney General Gurbir noted that the lawsuit challenges DOJ’s policy that “has tried to force a false choice on state and local governments: either you adopt the same harsh, anti-immigrant policies as the federal government, or you don’t get federal grant funding for critical anti-violence programs.”
Local, county, school district, and state officials who wish to adopt any type of immigration-related policy must closely consider the implications of the policies on federal grants, programs, and access to other critical public safety resources.