05.15.12

Leahy Urges DOJ To Review Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Office Use Of Federal Tax Dollars

WASHINGTON – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, urging the Justice Department to determine whether federal taxpayer dollars received by the Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) through a federal grant program have been used in connection with the detention of individuals whose civil rights have been violated. 

According to Justice Department data, Maricopa County has received more than $25 million dollars since 2000 under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) as reimbursement for costs related to the detention of undocumented immigrants. Last week the Department announced that it has filed a civil rights case against the sheriff’s office. The federal lawsuit alleges, among other things, that MCSO engaged in a pattern or practice of discriminatory jailing practices against Latino inmates with limited English skills.    

“I urge the Department to take all appropriate steps to determine whether taxpayer dollars provided through the SCAAP program have been used in connection with the detention of individuals whose civil rights have been violated,” wrote Leahy.  “If so, I urge you to consider possible remedies including whether that funding can be recovered.”

The full text of the letter follows.  A PDF is available online.

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