FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 9, 2018
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NYC urges Appellate Court to uphold preliminary injunction stopping the federal government from imposing counterproductive conditions on funding for local public safety programs
NEW YORK—New York City continued its fight to protect its public safety funding from the Trump Administration's anti-immigrant agenda by joining an amicus brief filed in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the case Chicago v. Sessions. The brief, led by Santa Clara County, was joined by a total of 24 cities, counties, and municipal agencies, as well as four major associations of local governments and their officials: the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the International Municipal Lawyers Association, and the International City/County Management Association. Last week amici urged the court to uphold the nationwide injunction against the Trump Administration's attempt to impose new unlawful conditions on the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program. The full brief is here.
"Amici cities are sending a message that we stand united in stopping the federal government from imposing restrictions on local law enforcement policies that have proven effective in keeping our communities safe," said Zachary W. Carter, NYC Corporation Counsel. "It is particularly ironic for New Yorkers that the Department of Justice threatens to withhold funds from a grant named for a New York City police officer who heroically gave his life to protect an immigrant witness who was cooperating with law enforcement."
"ew York City is living, breathing proof that immigrant communities and effective local policing strategies work together to create a safer city for all city residents," said Bitta Mostofi, Acting Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. "Rather than impose unconstitutional and counterproductive conditions on our public safety funding, the Trump Administration should focus on how to support safe and incredibly diverse cities like New York. The courts should preserve the nationwide injunction against this attempt at coercion."
Last fiscal year, New York City received $4.3 million in Byrne JAG funding used to support a range of vital public safety services: crime-fighting analysts, prosecutors, drug treatment and enforcement programs, and New York City Police Department 911 dispatchers. The Byrne JAG program is named after NYPD officer Edward Byrne, who was killed in the line of duty while protecting an immigrant New Yorker who had reported criminal activity in his neighborhood to the police.
The Trump Administration's attempt to impose conditions on the Byrne JAG program is part of its broader attack on cities like New York that are open and welcoming to immigrants. NYPD's successful policing strategies have contributed to major public safety gains, such as New York City witnessing its lowest number of homicides in half a century. The amicus brief notes that Congress created the Byrne JAG program specifically to support state and local governments' flexibility in designing their own public safety programs and policies. The Trump Administration now seeks to constrain localities’ policy choices about how best to maintain public safety, which would violate congressional intent and make local communities across the country less safe.