WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, led a bipartisan letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reconsider its decision to withhold funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program to states in compliance with federal requirements.
The Byrne JAG program was created in 2004 to provide federal, state and local governments the tools to prevent and combat crime and keep their communities safe. Arkansas is eligible for more than $2 million in funding from Fiscal Year ’17 funds to support training, personnel, equipment, supplies and information sharing.
“The Department’s decision to withhold all FY17 Byrne JAG awards has left our states short of the resources they need to be a partner with the federal government on shared law enforcement responsibilities,” the senators wrote.
The bipartisan group supporting Boozman’s letter include Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Lankford (R-OK) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Attorney General Sessions,
We write today regarding the decision by the Department of Justice to withhold Fiscal Year 2017 funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program (Byrne JAG).
The Byrne JAG program is vital to supporting local law enforcement and combatting drug problems and violent crime in our states. We are keenly aware of the Administration’s decision to impose new requirements on the Byrne JAG program and the ongoing legal challenges associated with them. However, it has come to our attention that the Department of Justice is withholding these grants from all recipients, regardless of whether they are in compliance with the new requirements or not.
Byrne JAG is the largest source of federal justice funding to help states and local law enforcement agencies purchase essential equipment and support drug treatment and enforcement activities. With increased efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, Byrne JAG funding for local law enforcement is more important than ever. The Department’s decision to withhold all FY17 Byrne JAG awards has left our states short of the resources they need to be a partner with the federal government on shared law enforcement responsibilities.
We respectfully urge you to reconsider the decision to withhold this funding to states that are in compliance with federal immigration law so that those jurisdictions have the tools they need to serve their communities and meet their vital mission.
- Byrne JAG Letter to AG Sessions.pdf (1.2 MBs)