Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Monday that the Trump administration would provide a $98 million grant to be applied to law enforcement to hire more officers in cities that comply with federal efforts to detain undocumented immigrants.
Sessions announced funding awards to 179 law departments, two of which are in Arizona-the Flagstaff Police Department and the Town of Sahuarita. The funding will allow for the hiring of 802 full-time officers across the nation.
“Cities and states that cooperate with federal law enforcement make all of us safer by helping remove dangerous criminals from our communities,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Today, the Justice Department announced that 80 percent of this year’s COPS Hiring Program grantees have agreed to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in their detention facilities. I applaud their commitment to the rule of law and to ending violent crime, including violent crime stemming from illegal immigration. I continue to encourage every jurisdiction in America to collaborate with federal law enforcement and help us make this country safer.”
The grant proves the administration’s attempt to fulfill the promises made during Trump’s campaign, in particular his promise to crack down on illegal immigration.
“I don’t think actions like this do much for the country” said Andrew Marriot, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona. “These kind of actions really seem to add more fear than change.”
This same sentiment is expressed by Ely Falla, a former student at the UA, “I hate this grant. When I was accepted to the UA I was so excited, but when it came time to go to school, a few of my family members who were going to help settle me in and see me off refused to come because of the fear of being pulled over because of laws like sb 1070,” said Falla. “More law enforcement just causes heartache for people and students like me who are completely legal.”
“It honestly seems like something that is wrongly influencing police departments to do something just for the sake of money,” said Trevor Gonzalez, a pre-physiology student at the UA.
Arizona was one of the first states to enact laws to allow for officers to run immigration checks on individuals where “reasonable suspicion exists.” The money provided from the grants will allow for Arizona to continue its strict practices pertaining to immigration.