Denver’s mayor declares win against U.S. attorney general
Denver won, and the feds paid up.
That was the city’s message Friday as it celebrated the arrival of $695,000 from the federal government. It’s normally a routine affair, but the money was tied up for a year in a national fight between cities and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“From the beginning, we have said that if the Department of Justice attempted to withhold federal funding from Denver based on our immigration policies, we would fight them. We did, and the federal courts have agreed with us,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a written statement issued Friday.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann also weighed in on the city’s financial victory.
“The courts have repeatedly declared unlawful the federal administration’s strongarm tactics jeopardizing local public safety funding,” McCann said in the news release. “The release of these funds as authorized by Congress is overdue but welcome.”
Denver originally applied in August 2017 for regular “justice assistance” grant funding from the justice department. City officials expected to receive the money that fall and planned to use it for police technology and programs.
In August, a federal appeals court issued an order allowing cities to collect the funding without complying with the immigra tionrelated conditions tied to the money. That ruling included Evanston, Ill., Denver and other members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, according to the mayors’ conference.
The controversy actually dates to 2016, in the last months of the Obama administration, when the Justice Department said cities could not forbid exchange of immigration status information if they wanted the funding, as The Marshall Project reported.
Sessions expanded that policy in 2017, saying that cities and states receiving funding had to allow federal immigration agents into jails, and that they must notify the feds before releasing unauthorized immigrants who are wanted by federal authorities.