Depending on Trump, Jersey City could lose $18.7M in federal funding

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The City of Jersey City could potentially lose nearly $18.7 million if President Donald Trump (R) follows through on his commitment to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities. Jersey City sanctuary

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

With great fanfare, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop signed an executive order declaring the municipality a sanctuary city on February 3.

The 10-page executive order bans Jersey City police from assisting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in detaining immigrants, preventing ICE agents from accessing city property without a warrant, even requiring state and federal authorities to get a formal order or directive to ask someone about their immigration status.

About a week earlier, Trump promised to halt federal funding from sanctuary cities, feeling they were impeding the functions of ICE (h/t NPR).

In the event that Trump followed through on his commitment in Jersey City, the city would lose $18,672,163 in federal funding, according to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request pertaining to the most recent municipal budget filed by Hudson County View.

That number represents just a little over 3 percent of last year’s $553,128,853 municipal budget, with the clerk’s office also breaking down the nine areas where federal funds were obtained.

The Community Development Block Grant Program, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the Emergency Solutions Grants Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS and the Community Services Block Grant, all part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, accounted for $10,585,756 of the city’s federal monies in 2016.

Other federal budgetary allotments included the Port Security Grant Program ($506,250), a FEMA grant to implement the National Preparedness System, and the Urban Area Securities Initiative ($1,776,000), a NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness grant for equipment and training related to anti-terrorism efforts.

Additionally, the National Women, Infants and Children (WIC) organization provided Jersey City a $1,795,318 grant last year, which is “a preventative public health nutrition and breastfeeding program under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).”

Finally, the City of Jersey City had $4,008,839 allocated to their 2016 budget by the NJ Department of Transportation’s Local Safety Program, with the goal to improve high risk intersections with traffic signals, signage, crosswalks and other safety measures.

Gov. Chris Christie (R), a well-known political enemy of Fulop, has previously declared himself a “willing partner” of Trump when it comes to “enforcing federal law.”

At the sanctuary city executive order signing, Fulop was dismissive of Christie’s stance on the topic, calling it “political opportunism” given that he felt the governor has flip-flopped on the issue several times since taking office.

State Senator Brian Stack (D-33), also the Union City mayor who declared the municipality a sanctuary city, introduced a bill where the state would reimburse sanctuary cities in the event federal funding is pulled.

However, Christie, typically a key ally for Stack, has already vowed to veto the legislation is it moves forward. Neither the state Senate or the Assembly have voted on the measure yet.

After endorsing Fulop for re-election last month, Stack, an outspoken critic of Trump, told Hudson County View that he thought it would be unconstitutional for the president to withhold the federal monies, therefore, it wouldn’t happen.

As of this writing, Trump has not followed through on his word to withdraw federal funding from a sanctuary city anywhere in the country.

A city spokeswoman did not return requests seeking comment.

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