United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. McCONNELL, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
to 34 U.S.C. § 10152(a), Byrne JAG Program provides
federal funding for state and local municipalities to support
local responses to criminal justice-related concerns upon
timely receipt of an application by state or local
municipalities. The U.S. Department of Justice administers
the program. The City of Providence received $212, 112 of
Byrne JAG Program funding (ECF No. 20-3 at 79) and planned to
use the funds to hire bilingual interpreter to support
building cooperation with immigrant population in Fiscal Year
2017. ECF No. 20-3 at 8, 9. The City of Central Falls
received $28, 677 of Byrne JAG Program funding (ECF No. 20-3
at 51) and it was critical to the city funding local law
enforcement after its 2012 bankruptcy. ECF No. 20-3 at 40.
issued a press release stating it would enforce three
conditions known as Access, Notice, and Section 1373
conditions on Byrne JAG Program funding. ECF No. 25 at 40.
• The Access condition requires a recipient to provide
federal immigration enforcement agents with access to the
recipient's correctional facilities. ECF No. 20-3 at
• The Notice condition requires a recipient to provide
federal immigration enforcement agents notice of a scheduled
release for a suspected alien in custody. ECF No. 20-3 at
• The Section 1373 condition prohibits a recipient from
restricting their officials from sending or receiving
information, described in 8 U.S.C. 1373(a), or maintaining,
or exchanging information, described in 8 U.S.C. 1373(b),
regarding citizenship or immigration status with federal
immigration enforcement. ECF No. 20-3 at 52-71.
Cities have filed a complaint alleging that the Access,
Notice, and Section 1373 conditions violate the Separation of
Power (Count 1), Tenth Amendment (Count IV), Spending Clause
(Count V), and represent both ultra vires (Count ll) and
arbitrary and capricious agency conduct (Count III). ECF
No.15 at 30-38. The Cities now move for summary judgment on
all claims relating to Byrne JAG Program funds for FY 2017.
ECF No. 20 at 1. Also, the Cities seek a Writ of Mandamus
directing the DOJ to immediately disburse the Cities' FY
2017 award funding and reissue FY 2017 award letters without
the three challenged conditions. ECF No.20-1 at 63.
Additionally, the Cities seeks a permanent injunction
enjoining DOJ from imposing the Access, Notice, and Section
1373 conditions on the City of Providence and City of Central
Falls. ECF No. 20-1 at 63.
case before the Court now is not a novel one because several
jurisdictions, such as the Northern District of Illinois and
Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the 3rd and 7th
Circuits, have considered litigation on similar claims
brought by similarly situated plaintiffs. The Court focuses
its analysis on the threshold issue: whether statutory
authority existed to authorize the Attorney General to enact
the Challenged Conditions. If statutory authority was
lacking, then the Court need not reach the other claims.
Statutory Authorization for the Challenged Conditions
Attorney General presents three sources of statutory
authority to impose the FY 2017 immigration-related
conditions: the Byrne JAG statute itself, 34 U.S.C. §
10153(a) of the Byrne JAG statute, and the statutory
provision defining the duties of the Assistant Attorney
General for the DOJ's Office of Justice Programs found in
34 U.S.C. § 10102(a). In City of Philadelphia v.
Attorney Gen. of United States of America, 916 F.3d 276, 292
(3d Cir. 2019), the Third Circuit rejected these identical
arguments and held that the Attorney General lacks statutory
authorization to impose the challenged conditions for the
following highlighted reasons.
while the Byrne JAG statute delegates some authority to the
Attorney General to withhold funds for a grantee's
failure to comply with certain laws, the sweeping nature of
withholding all of a grantee's funds for any reason the
Attorney General chooses is not supported by its plain text.
While the Attorney General argues that "examination of
the relevant statutory framework of the Byrne JAG program
makes clear that Congress did delegate such authority,"
(EOF No. 23 at 13), the Third Circuit explained that
"[s]uch authorization is nowhere to be found in the text
of the [Byrne JAG] statute." City of Philadelphia, 916
F.3d at 284.
neither 34 U.S.C. § 10153 (a)(4), relating to data
reporting, nor 4 U.S.C. § 10153 (a)(5), relating to
Byrne JAG program funding recipients' certification that
"there has been appropriate coordination with affected
agencies," authorized imposing the Access and Notice
conditions unrelated to the use of grant funds because the
data-reporting requirement is limited to "programmatic
and financial" information and the coordination
requirement should be interpreted as relating to
certification that there was appropriate coordination in
terms of Byrne JAG program funding recipient applications.
Attorney General also argues that the Section 1373 Condition
is authorized by 34 U.S.C. § 10153(a)(5)(D), which
requires Byrne JAG program recipients to "comply with
all provisions of this part and all other applicable Federal
laws," The Third Circuit rejected the argument that
Section 1373 is an "applicable law" for several
reasons. First, the term "applicable" must be given
some independent effect as Congress did not write that the
applicant must certify compliance with "all other
Federal laws." Next, the applicable laws clause is
located in the fourth of four subsections, all of which
relate to the programs that will be funded under the grant.
Additionally, the effect of the government's argument
that the Section 1373 Condition empowers it to impose the
challenged conditions is undercut by the "Administrative
Provisions" section of the same chapter of the code as
the Applicable Laws Clause, which states, "Nothing in
this chapter or any other Act shall be construed to authorize
any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United
States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control
over any police force or any other criminal justice agency of
any State or any political subdivision." 34 U.S.C.
although, pursuant to 34 U.S.C.§ 10102(a)(6),
"[t]he Assistant Attorney General shall ... exercise
such other powers and functions as may be vested in the
Assistant Attorney General... including placing special
conditions on all grants," the word
"including" is a limiting word meaning that
"the power to place special conditions on grants only to
the extent that such power has been vested in him or her
'pursuant to this chapter or by delegation of the
Attorney General'." The Third Circuit concluded by
saying that neither the Byrne JAG statute nor any other
provision of the United States ...