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County leaders ask for legal review of federal grant with immigration strings attached

Thurston County Commissioners John Hutchings, left, and Gary Edwards during a 2017 board meeting.
Thurston County Commissioners John Hutchings, left, and Gary Edwards during a 2017 board meeting. Olympian file photo

Thurston County leaders want more information on conditions related to immigration enforcement before they decide whether to move forward with a controversial federal public safety grant.

The county has received the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant for years; since 2010, it has used the money primarily for technology improvements.

However, under the Trump administration, grant recipients had to certify compliance with federal law and agree to cooperate with immigration authorities.

The county commissioners were scheduled to vote on the $25,000 grant application at their meeting Tuesday, but the item was pulled from the list of consent items before the meeting because of public comments, according to the county.

Instead, the board asked the prosecuting attorney’s office to do a legal review of the certification process before it moves forward.

At Tuesday’s meeting, members of the public said the issue deserved more public scrutiny.

The grant requirements have been challenged in court.

Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled the Trump administration exceeded its authority when it denied Los Angeles the same grant after the city refused to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869
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