CSAC Bulletin Article

$16.9M in SCAAP Funding Announced

October 20, 2016

Fifty California counties will receive nearly $16.9 million in State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) awards this year, with the State of California receiving nearly $50.6 million. California’s combined total represents roughly 37 percent of the $189 million that was made available for SCAAP. The Bureau of Justice Assistance announce the allocations this week.

As in previous years, the Department of Justice (DOJ) exercised its authority to reallocate 10 percent of SCAAP funds to other departmental activities (the maximum amount allowable under the law). Although the reprogramming of SCAAP funds has been criticized by counties and States, DOJ has been authorized by Congress to shift a certain portion of funds from SCAAP and other grant programs to other Agency purposes, including various administrative activities.

All told, Congress appropriated more money for SCAAP in FY 16 than in FY 15 ($210 million versus $185 million).

While additional funding is a positive development, it is important to understand that DOJ is requiring in future years that SCAAP applicants certify compliance with all applicable federal laws at the time they apply for funds. The Department is doing this for the Byrne/JAG program as well, as noted in the FAQs posted on OJP’s website earlier this month https://www.bja.gov/funding/Additional-BJA-Guidance-on-Section-1373-October-6-2016.pdf. This means that grantees need to certify that they are complying with, among other things, 8 USC Section 1373, which is a “sanctuary city” statute.

It should be noted that DOJ has not previously enforced this section of the U.S. Code; however, after some prodding by members of Congress, the Department announced that they will begin to require jurisdictions to certify compliance. Section 1373 does not impose on jurisdictions an affirmative obligation to collect information from individuals regarding their immigration status. Rather, the statute bars government entities/officials from taking action to prohibit or in any way restrict the maintenance or intergovernmental exchange of such information (including through written or unwritten policies or practice). While California does have the TRUST Act, it appears only one county in the state (San Francisco) could be impacted by this provision.

Since these new compliance requirements are not part of the 2016 funding, counties/grantees have an additional year to review policies to determine compliance/non-compliance.

To view the breakdown of each State/County’s SCAAP allocation please click here.

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