Colorado Attorney General’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice reach agreement to end lawsuit over federal public safety grant funds
Attorney General Phil Weiser sued DOJ in 2019 for tying funds to unlawful immigration conditions
May 4, 2021 (DENVER)— Attorney General Phil Weiser today announced that Colorado has won a federal case over whether the U.S. Department of Justice acted illegally when it placed immigration enforcement requirements on the state in order to be eligible to receive $2.7 million in federal public safety grant funds.
Weiser sued the Justice Department in March 2019, explaining that the DOJ broke the law—and undermined the Constitution’s protection of state sovereignty—when it required state and local law enforcement agencies to carry out federal immigration enforcement to participate in the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program.
In April 2020, a Denver federal judge ruled that the DOJ’s immigration enforcement requirements violated federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The DOJ appealed the ruling to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
To end the litigation, the federal government has agreed to drop its appeal of the judge’s findings that the immigration conditions violated federal law, and the state agreed to a modification in the judge’s ruling so that it no longer addresses whether the relevant conditions violate the U.S. Constitution.
Weiser said he is pleased the state and DOJ were able to come to an agreement that will end a two-year legal case about federal dollars that state and local law enforcement agencies are entitled to.
“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. The agreement we have reached with DOJ ends this lawsuit and it is a victory for the rule of law, for law enforcement agencies in Colorado that rely on these funds, and for public safety,” said Weiser.
The case is State of Colorado v. United States Department of Justice (case number 19-cv-00736-JLK).