Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer Thursday announced that his office has filed a motion in federal court seeking a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Trump administration from imposing conditions on the city as a prerequisite to receiving federal funding for an anti-gang program.
“We’re continuing to do everything in our power to stop the Trump administration from unconstitutionally tying federal civil immigration enforcement to the funding of L.A.’s anti-gang efforts,” Feuer said. “LAPD decided decades ago that police officers should not engage in civil immigration enforcement, because all of us are safer when victims and witnesses of crime, irrespective of immigration status, contact police. We won’t let the Trump administration hold federal grant funding hostage to further its immigration policy prerogatives at the expense of protecting L.A.’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.”
Los Angeles filed a lawsuit against the federal government last year after it said it would withhold crime-fighting grant funds from jurisdictions it disagrees with on immigration policy in an effort by the Trump administration to persuade them to go beyond what is required by law in identifying, holding and turning over immigrants in the country illegally.
The new requirements for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program include that jurisdictions cooperate with the federal government on immigration enforcement, something the LAPD has limited for decades.
Los Angeles was one of several jurisdictions which filed a lawsuit over the grants last year, and a federal judge in Chicago issued a nationwide injunction preventing the feds from attaching the immigration requirements. With the court cases underway, the Justice Department decided not to distribute any of the estimated $200 million in 2017 money it has for the grants. Last month, an appeals court threw out the nationwide injunction.
In its recent motion, the city argues that precedent from the recent City of Los Angeles vs. Sessions decision, which found the imposition of immigration-related considerations on the COPS grant to be unlawful, supports the city’s claim that immigration-related conditions imposed on the Byrne JAG grant are unlawful as well.
The city has received more than $1 million annually from the Byrne grant since 1997, according to Feuer’s office.
It’s eligible to receive $1.9 million for the fiscal year 2017, with $1.5 million allocated directly to the city and the remainder to Los Angeles County.