Two Western Mass. Communities Could Lose Grants Under DOJ Plan

Mar 28, 2017

At least two communities in western Massachusetts could lose federal funding from the Department of Justice. That's if the department follows through on its pledge to cut grant money from cities that do not comply with federal immigration requests to detain individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.

Last week, both Amherst and Northampton landed on a federal list of so-called "sanctuary cities." 

Matt Segal, legal director of the Massachusetts ACLU, said his organization believes it's actually illegal under state law for local police to carry out detainer requests.

"When the federal government says, 'This is what we're asking state officers to do,' what it's really saying is, 'We are asking states to either violate or change their very constitutions,'" Segal said.

The Justice Department said this week it will seek to "claw-back" past grants to some sanctuary communities. Northampton has received close to $100,000 in DOJ grants since 2009. Amherst has been awarded about $60,000 since 2005.