The Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant has provided the Newport Police Department with around $36,000/year over the past 12 years ($432,347 worth of grant funding since 2005). This money has gone towards funding communications equipment, community policing initiatives, traffic safety programs, targeted enforcement efforts, and a variety of other directives.

Earlier this year, Jeff Sessions announced that the Byrne grant would come with additional stipulations, requiring police departments that accept funding to conform to certain standards relating to immigration law enforcement. These standards include the following:

  • Must certify compliance with section 1373, a federal statute applicable to state and local governments that generally bars restrictions on communications between state and local agencies and officials at the Department of Homeland Security;
  • Must permit personnel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to access any detention facility in order to meet with an alien and inquire as to his or her right to be or remain in the United States;
  • Must provide at least 48 hours advance notice to DHS regarding the scheduled release date and time of an alien in the jurisdiction’s custody when DHS requests such notice in order to take custody of the alien.

These stipulations are aimed at punishing sanctuary cities and have caused the City of Chicago to file suit against the justice department, stating that this amounts to a blackmail attempt by the federal government.

The city council will be holding a public forum tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 12) to discuss the acceptance of the 2017 grant and associated stipulations.

I for one think that we should engage the council on this matter and urge them to plant a flag of protest by declining to accept this grant.

I understand that a well-funded police department is essential to maintaining our city, but betraying our city’s morality to the Trump administration for $36,000 is not worth it.

I urge anyone who agrees with me to attend tonight’s public forum and let the council know how you feel.


-Steven Sabo, Newport

Editor’s Note – The views and opinions expressed within are those of the author and not necessarily those of What’sUpNewp, our advertisers or our sponsors. Have an opinion or op-ed? E-mail it to

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.