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Crime and Courts

Colorado, U.S. Department of Justice end Trump-era legal battle over immigration and policing

Colorado is one of several states that will have its funding reinstated after the Biden administration repealed a policy that requires states cooperate with federal immigration enforcement in order to receive funds

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser at a news conference in March announcing a lawsuit against the Trump administration. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

The state of Colorado and the U.S. Department of Justice have ended a two-year dispute regarding $2.7 million in federal law enforcement funding withheld by the Trump administration over immigration enforcement requirements.

Colorado is one of several states that will have its funding reinstated after the Biden administration repealed a policy that requires states cooperate with federal immigration enforcement in order to receive funds.

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The dispute began in early 2019, the Denver Post reported, when the Department of Justice withheld Colorado’s annual law enforcement grant money after the state objected to the Trump administration’s immigration-related conditions. These conditions included notifying federal law enforcement any time police released an undocumented immigrant from custody and allowing federal agents in the state to question anyone they believed to be in the country illegally.

Colorado sued the federal government in March 2019. In April 2020, a federal court sided with the state, ruling that the Department of Justice overstepped its bounds.

The Trump administration appealed the case to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The Department of Justice now under the Biden administration has since dropped the case.

“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,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement Tuesday.

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