On Monday, Jeff Sessions’s Justice Department announced that it would award over $98 million in community policing grants to local police departments that agree to give up undocumented immigrants to federal immigration authorities.
From BuzzFeed News:
The community-policing grants announced Monday will disburse $98,495,397 to 179 local law enforcement agencies, which will hire 802 officers, as part of the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring program.
In doing so, Sessions is further reshaping the agency’s community policing office, which under former President Obama emphasized building trust between police officers and citizens through grants and civil-rights reforms. Sessions has instead pressed the division to fight violent crime, turn in unauthorized immigrants, and abandon efforts to systematically reform police departments.
Sessions had previously announced a point-based system to award the money, giving additional points to those applicants who have agreed to allow ICE officers into local jails and to flag undocumented immigrants in local police custody. According to the Justice Dept., 80 percent of grantees have agreed to cooperate with this policy.
Ron Davis, director of the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services under the Obama administration, told BuzzFeed that Sessions’s grant policies “create fear in communities you need more information from. It makes communities less safe because people will be afraid to report crime in fear of deportation.”
Here’s where we were a year ago, via BuzzFeed:
By contrast, the same grant program under the Obama administration gave a leg up to police departments in 2016 that were “building trust” within their communities, based on standards set out in Obama’s 21st Century Policing plan, which sought to promote transparency and diversity among police, and switch to a “guardian” culture instead of “warrior culture of policing.” Applicants in 2016 also earned points for engaging in school-based policing, homicide or violent crime, and homeland security.
Meanwhile, ICE is shopping for new detention centers to accommodate this year’s spike in arrests. Once there, undocumented immigrants—many of whom have done nothing wrong—face a massive court backlog, and potentially years of indiscriminate, inhumane imprisonment.