Immigration dispute with Trump administration costs small Colorado towns

Article subtitle: 
Trump administration and Colorado battle in court over law enforcement dollars
Article author: 
Justin Wingerter
Article publisher: 
Denver Post
Article date: 
27 October 2019
Article category: 
Colorado News
Article Body: 

A few years ago, Alamosa was awarded a modest grant from the federal government that the city used to create a program that keeps kids out of jail for petty crimes...

“If the 2018 Byrne JAG grant funds do not arrive, Alamosa will either shut down the program or be compelled to find other funding sources — which are not likely to be found,” said Heather Brooks, city manager for the southern Colorado town, under oath earlier this month...

The dispute

Between 2005 and 2017, Colorado received nearly $40 million in Byrne JAG money, according to the state...

In October 2018, the Justice Department sent Colorado a congratulatory letter and said it would be awarded about $2.8 million in Byrne JAG grants for fiscal year 2018.'

But there was a catch. States must comply with Justice Department conditions to receive the grants, and the Trump administration added several related to immigration. Colorado would need to ensure all police agencies receiving money share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and allow ICE officers into their local jails.

Thome considered compliance with the Trump administration’s rules to be both “impossible” and detrimental to the relationship between immigrants [aliens, both legal and illegal presense arrested] and local police.

So, Thome told the Justice Department last October that he was accepting the grant funding but could not comply with the new conditions. In January 2019, the Justice Department wrote back to say Colorado could not receive the money without complying. The state responded with a lawsuit in March ...