Press Release

August 3, 2017
Baltimore Congressional Delegation Calls Sessions’ Threat to City Funding for Fighting Violent Crime “Unconscionable”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Representatives Elijah Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes (all D-Md.) responded forcefully to a letter Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent to Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis threatening to reject the city from the Public Safety Partnership (PSP) program, run by the Department of Justice and designed to help cities combat violent crime.

“The Justice Department’s mission is to ensure public safety and control crime.  It is unconscionable that Attorney General Sessions would threaten to withhold critical law enforcement funding to Baltimore and other cities that could reduce violent crime.

“It is the intent of Congress that state and local government should receive assistance from the federal government as they seek to keep their communities safe, fight crime, and build stronger partnerships between police departments and the neighborhoods they serve.

“Immigration enforcement is a matter for the federal government. The federal government should not trample on the rights of states and localities with unfunded mandates, in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform which would fix our broken immigration system.

“The Justice Department recognizes the higher-than-average crime rates in Baltimore and the need for intensive assistance to help reduce violent crime. This should be the sole threshold for gaining such assistance.

“We do not understand why the Justice Department views Baltimore’s eligibility for assistance as dependent on its answers to unrelated federal immigration enforcement questions.  Rather than threatening Baltimore and other cities, the Justice Department should be eager to bring to bear all of the federal government’s resources to reduce violent crime.” 

The delegation members will be sending a letter directly to AG Sessions.