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Colorado, Justice Department End “Sanctuary” Immigration Lawsuit

— May 6, 2021

Colorado has agreed to end its lawsuit on immigration-related law enforcement funding.

According to Colorado Politics, the state had filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Justice while former President Donald Trump was in power.

However, the Justice Department has shifted its stance since Biden took the Oval Office, and has now agreed to amicably resolve the dispute.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Senior Judge John L. Kane issued an order amending a judgment which suggested that the Justice Department’s requirement that states and localities cooperate with federal immigration authorities infringed on Congress’s spending authority.

Colorado, notes The Colorado Sun, had sued the Justice Department after the agency withheld the state’s Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants for the 2018 fiscal year.

Under President Trump, the Justice Department withheld law enforcement funding and other grants from states with “sanctuary”-type policies, which restrict local police agencies from coordinating with federal immigration authorities.

In his last judgment, Judge Kane opined that the federal government had overstepped its boundaries by trying to dictate what states can and cannot do. Furthermore, Kane stated that only the Legislature has the authority to determine conditionality for congressionally apportioned funds.

Border Patrol agents. Image via Pixabay/user:mademoddymad. (CCA-BY-0.0)

“Congress crafted the Byrne JAG program as a means of supporting local law enforcement,” Kane wrote in a 41-page ruling. “By imposing conditions on Byrne JAG grants for which it has no statutory authority, DOJ has exceeded the power carefully delegated to it by Congress to administer that program.”

Kane’s ruling was welcomed by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

“I am pleased that a federal judge has ruled that the Justice Department violated the law when it withheld federal public safety grants because our state would not comply with unlawful immigration-related conditions,” Weiser said in a statement. “Withholding congressionally appropriated funds to state and local law enforcement agencies because they do not meet new conditions that are not authorized by Congress is an illegal overreach by the Justice Department. Today’s ruling is a victory for the rule of law, for law enforcement agencies in Colorado, and for public safety.”

However, Kane’s most recent decision rescinded his las order to “avoid the

Kane, says Colorado Politics, rescinded his prior order to “avoid the unnecessary resolution of a constitutional question.”

Since Kane’s amended order will no longer limit the federal government’s power, the Justice Department agreed to end its appeal.

Attorney General Weiser has also praised the amicable ending.

“We sued the Justice Department in the previous administration because it broke the law when it withheld federal public safety grants for Colorado because our state would not comply with unlawful immigration-related conditions,” Weiser said in a statement.


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