Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Attorney General Phil Weiser have sued the Trump administration over denial of a public safety grant of $2.7 million in a dispute over immigration.
The suit was filed March 12 in U.S. District Court, saying that the administration is illegally withholding the funds because it is unhappy with Colorado's immigration enforcement policies.
The money, granted under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, was intended to pay for police equipment, technology and training as well as victim services programs, the governor's office said.
The problem, the Democrats said March 12, is that Congress appropriated the money, and the Trump administration has no right to unilaterally deny the funds, particularly under the “special conditions” outlined by the president. Those conditions apply to immigration policy, not laws set forth by Congress, Polis said.
The special conditions, issued in 2017 by then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, require that “cities provide immigration officials access to prisons and suspects, advanced notice when undocumented immigrants [are] to be released from prison and [to] share a person’s immigration status.”
Colorado is entitled to these funds, Polis said during a news conference, joined by Weiser and eight members of the House.
The state accepted those grant funds by letter on Oct. 15, 2018. But on Jan. 27 a Justice Department staffer said Colorado had been “prematurely” awarded the grant.
“This is an attempt to bully states” into doing the bidding of Washington politicians, Polis said.