Vermont Public Safety responds to DOJ notification

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Vermont Public Safety responds to DOJ notification

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 4:39pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Commissioner of Public Safety Thomas D Anderson and Vermont State Police Colonel Matthew Birmingham issue the following joint statement with regard to the Department of Justice’s notification to the Department of Public Safety of non-compliance with federal immigration law:

"Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (DOJ) notified the Department of Public Safety (DPS) that it was not in compliance with federal immigration law, specifically 8 U.S.C. § 1373.  The letter also notified DPS that because of this non-compliance it risked losing its FY2016 Byrne JAG grant and that its FY2017 Byrne JAG grant request was also in jeopardy.  

"The DOJ letter asserts that DPS’s non-compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373 is based on certain provisions of the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council’s model fair and impartial policing policy which DOJ asserts violates this statute.  This federal law prohibits State government entities from taking any action, through written or unwritten policies or practices, to prohibit or restrict the intergovernmental exchange of information regarding the immigration status of any individual.

"The DOJ letter further requires DPS to respond by December 8, 2017 and address whether “Vermont has laws, policies, or practices that violate section 1373.”

"DPS firmly believes that DOJ’s assertions have no merit and that DPS and the Vermont State Police are in full compliance with the above-referenced federal law.  DPS will formally respond to the letter on or before December 8, 2017.

"With respect to the Bryne JAG grants, DPS receives approximately $467,000 each year.  These grants are used to fund the Vermont Drug Task Force, which routinely conducts investigations of drug traffickers in Vermont, including heroin traffickers.  The loss of these funds would have a significant and detrimental effect on the State of Vermont’s ability to investigate drug trafficking offenses.  In addition to funding a local officer on the Task Force, these funds are used for day-to-day operational expenses of the state-wide Drug Task Force.  Without a fully functioning Task Force, Vermont’s ability to effectively investigate, arrest and prosecute heroin and other drug traffickers will be significantly hampered and will pose an unacceptable risk to the safety of Vermont."

Source: Vermont PPS 11.16.2017