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US Money for police cannot be pegged to cooperation with ICE, judge rules

02:30  13 april  2018
02:30  13 april  2018 Source:   latimes.com

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A judge ruled the DOJ cannot favor PDs that are willing to cooperate with immigration agents when it doles out tens of millions of dollars in funding each year. U.S. District Judge Manuel Real issued a permanent, nationwide ban against a Justice Department policy that gave an edge to obliging police

Cooperating with immigration agents cannot be a condition for local police departments to receive federal funding, a judge in Los Angeles ruled this week.

Eric Garcetti in a suit standing in front of a curtain: Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, right, shown with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, details a court ruling against the Trump administration regarding its efforts to withhold federal grants from jurisdictions over their immigration enforcement policies on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at City Hall in Los Angeles, Calif. © Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, right, shown with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, details a court ruling against the Trump administration regarding its efforts to withhold federal grants from jurisdictions over their immigration enforcement policies on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at City Hall in Los Angeles, Calif.

LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Department of Justice cannot force local police departments to cooperate with immigration agents as a condition for receiving federal funding for a law enforcement program, a judge in Los Angeles ruled this week.

The permanent, nationwide ban against the funding rules delivered an unambiguous victory to Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer in the legal battle he opened last year with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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The agreements known as consent decrees force police officials and mayors to put reforms in place by a set deadline. The deals often are overseen and monitored by a federal judge or another third party. Judge : Money for police cannot be pegged to cooperation with ICE .

A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that the Justice Department cannot require that local police departments The city police department has used the money for its Community Safety Partnership, which Local officials have also argued that forcing local police officers to cooperate on immigration

Feuer filed a lawsuit in federal court in September, claiming Sessions had overreached his authority and crossed constitutional lines when the Justice Department changed the terms for the Community Oriented Policing Services program.

"This is a complete victory," Feuer said at a news event Thursday, flanked by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. "This is yet another dagger in the heart of the administration's efforts to use federal funds as a weapon to make local jurisdictions complicit in its civil immigration enforcement policies."

For years, police departments around the country have applied to the DOJ grant for money to bolster their community policing programs, which are focused on building stronger ties and trust with communities instead of traditional law-and-order enforcement.

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Money for police cannot be pegged to cooperation with ICE , judge rules . 👍😎 LA Times, 20180412. A federal judge has ruled the U. Justice Department cannot favor police departments that cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement when awarding grant funds.

Los Angeles routinely applies for funds through the program and received $3.125 million in 2016, which helped hire 25 officers, according to Feuer's office.

But last year the rules for how funds would be awarded included a new caveat: Police departments that cooperated with immigration agents on identifying and apprehending jail inmates believed to be in the country illegally would be viewed more favorably.

Police departments seeking some of the $98 million pool of grant money were asked to demonstrate that they alert immigration agents before releasing jail inmates and give immigration agents jail access in order to conduct inmate interviews and review files. Los Angeles, which refused to abide by the new rules, was not awarded any money from the $98 million pool.

In issuing his ruling, U.S. District Judge Manuel Real agreed with Feuer that the new funding rules violated the separation of powers laid out in the nation's Constitution.

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The new rules , his office said, are designed to strengthen trust between police agencies and the state’s diverse immigrant communities. U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson ruled that the Trump administration’s attempt to withhold about .5 million in federal law-enforcement grant money

A federal judge ruled in favor of L.A., which claimed it was being punished by the Department of Justice for not following stricter immigration But last year, new rules from the Trump administration asked that cities alert immigration agents before releasing inmates and allow those agent to conduct

Real found the funding conditions were an improper attempt to force local police to participate in immigration enforcement, which is the job of the federal government. The move, Real found, "upset the constitutional balance between state and federal power by requiring state and local law enforcement to partner with federal authorities."

They also crossed the authority given to Congress, not the executive branch, to control government spending, Real said.

As a result, Los Angeles and other cities that refused to adhere to the funding rules were put at a disadvantage and would be handicapped again in future years.

Eric Garcetti et al. in uniform standing in front of a curtain: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, center, flanked by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, left, and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, during a press conference detailing a court ruling against the Trump administration regarding its efforts to withhold federal grants from jurisdictions over their immigration enforcement policies on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at City Hall in Los Angeles, Calif. © Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, center, flanked by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, left, and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, during a press conference detailing a court ruling against the Trump administration regarding its efforts to withhold federal grants from jurisdictions over their immigration enforcement policies on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at City Hall in Los Angeles, Calif.

The remedy, Real concluded, was to issue the permanent injunction against the Justice Department.

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

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