Statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran on Threat to CDBG in Senate Border Security Bill

Washington, D.C. –  U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO & Executive Director Tom Cochran today issued the following statement on the threat to Community Development Block Grant funds in the Senate Border Security Bill — Building America’s Trust Act:

“The nation’s mayors strongly oppose a provision in the Building America’s Trust Act introduced in the Senate Thursday which would withhold Community Development Block Grant and Economic Development Assistance funding from jurisdictions which have instituted local policies to build trust with immigrant communities and uphold the Constitution in their treatment of people being detained.

“The CDBG program is critical to the community and economic development of our cities’ lower income neighborhoods.  Penalizing it and EDA’s programs is counter-productive, mean-spirited, and likely unconstitutional.

“We will oppose any bill that contains a provision that seeks to punish cities for such local policies by withholding federal funds.  These provisions jeopardize public safety, preempt local authority, and expose local governments to litigation and potential findings of damages.

“We urge the Senate instead to act in a bipartisan fashion, as it did just a few years ago, to fix our broken immigration system by passing comprehensive legislation that would:

  • Strengthen our borders while assuring that state and local law enforcement can remain focused on community policing;
  • Establish a streamlined visa process to efficiently process seasonal, agricultural, lesser-skilled and high skilled workers;
  • Provide a uniform system of employment verification; and
  • Implement a framework that enables people of goodwill currently living in the shadows to come out and fully pursue the American dream.

“The nation’s Mayors stand ready to work with Congress and the Administration in a bipartisan manner to reform our immigration system to ensure that our communities are safe while allowing all our residents to thrive.”

About the Author:

Elena Temple is the Director of Public Affairs for the Conference. She can be contacted by phone at 202-286-1100 or via email at etemple@usmayors.org.