The Justice Department said Wednesday it has begun distributing hundreds of millions of dollars in grant money that had been tied up in a major court battle over sanctuary cities.
Byrne Justice Assistance Grants are used by localities and police departments across the nation to pay for equipment, training, personnel or other pressing needs.
The Trump administration last year said it would condition the money on localities’ willingness to cooperate in holding illegal immigrants for pickup by federal deportation officers. Chicago sued, saying the conditions weren’t part of federal law.
A federal district judge had ruled for Chicago, but issued a nationwide injunction saying the conditions couldn’t be applied to any Byrne grants.
The Justice Department put nearly $200 million in 2017 money on hold as the case proceeded.
But on Tuesday an appeals court narrowed the ruling, saying that while the district court could decide the fate of Chicago’s practices, it couldn’t tie the hands of the entire country.
The Justice Department said that cleared the way to dole out cash to departments that do abide by the cooperation conditions.
“After the stay was granted, the Justice Department promptly moved to begin the distribution of nearly $200 million in Byrne JAG funds to jurisdictions that share the department’s commitment to keeping criminal aliens off our streets and our law abiding citizens safe,” said Justice spokesman Devin O’Malley. “Reviews of some applications remain ongoing.”
• Stephen Dinan can be reached at email@example.com.
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