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MICHAEL F. BENET WASIINGTON, AGRICULTURE, NUTRITION, AND FORESTRY Wnited States Senate age FINANCE WASHINGTON, DC 20510-0609 HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR, [AND PENSIONS October 4, 2018 The Honorable Jeff Sessions Attorney General USS, Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001 RE: FY 2017 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Funds Dear Attorney General Sessions: L write on behalf of the State of Colorado and 32 Colorado applicants —including law enforcement agencies, restorative justice programs, municipalities, judicial districts, human service agencies, housing authorities, and tribes—to express grave concerns regarding the arbitrary immigration-related certification terms attached to Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program funds for Fiscal Year 2017. The Justice Department announced these conditions without engaging in the proper rulemaking process. As a result, Colorado's $2.7 million in JAG funding is subject to capricious conditions for communities across the state. It is also my understanding that this rulemaking is subject to litigation. As you know, the JAG funds support a vast range of essential law enforcement services from the largest cities to the most rural communities. Unfortunately, the Justice Department first delayed the release of this year’s funding and later attached unrelated and controversial immigration- related conditions to its distribution. As a result, Colorado communities and orgat forced to either accept the uncertainty and cost associated with these controversial immigration- related conditions or provide the same services without those critical funding resources. For example, in the rural town of Granada in Southeast Colorado, these funds support a full-time clerk in a police department with only one full-time officer, a part-time clerk, and two volunteer reserve officers, At the Denver Justice High School, JAG funds support a dedicated position focused on reducing criminal behavior and truancy with youth. And in the 12th Judicial District in the San Luis Valley—where the opioid epidemic strains services and budgets—a treatment court attomey was diverted to another caseload when its JAG funds, which were already committed as part of a four-year funding award, did not arrive. Many communities across Colorado are unsure about how to enforce the Justice Department's immigration-related conditions. Although a federal court recently issued a preliminary injunction blocking these requirements for applicants who are members of the U.S, Conference of Mayors, uncertainty remains as to which municipalities and organizations are subject to the injunction. In addition, by not following proper rulemaking procedures, including allowing the state and all applicants an opportunity to comment on the certification terms, the state agency tasked with distributing the funds is not equipped with sufficient expertise to interpret the Justice Department's vague and arbitrary conditions. ‘These unprecedented conditions are the latest in a pattern by this Administration of attaching strings to critical federal funding. In effect, the conditions are directly harming states like Colorado that use JAG funds to keep their communities safe. I urge you to suspend the conditions immediately unt the litigation is resolved and allow state agencies to accept and distribute JAG funds under the grant conditions required in the past. ‘Thank you for your consideration in this matter. Sincerely, Ne ES Michael F, Bennet United States Senator