Feds cut security funding

State to recieve less grant funding from Department of Homeland Security despite Jersey City attack

A vigil held for the victims of the Dec. 10 Jersey City domestic terrorist attack. Photo by Jen Brown.
A vigil held for the victims of the Dec. 10 Jersey City domestic terrorist attack. Photo by Jen Brown.

Jersey City and the surrounding region could lose up to $5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to the department’s proposed budget, despite the domestic terrorist attack which occurred in Jersey City last December.

Mayor Steven Fulop took aim at President Donald Trump on Twitter over the decreased funding, calling on voters to remove him in November.

“I struggle w/this decision from @realDonaldTrump and it will hurt us, but I’m not going to complain and waste time, as we realize elections have consequences,” Fulop said. “The takeaway here is we just need to continue working as hard as possible to make sure November is a change election.”

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal also tweeted his disapproval, citing the Dec. 10 attack at the JC Kosher Supermarket in Jersey City in which four people lost their lives.

“Two months ago, NJ experienced the worst anti-Semitic attack in our state’s history,” Grewal said. “A hero cop was assassinated. I sat shiva with the family members of the victims. @realDonaldTrump should explain to their faces why he’s cutting our region’s security funds.”

According to a release from DHS, its Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) will provide $615 million to enhance regional preparedness and capabilities in 32 high-threat, high-density areas. States and urban areas are required to dedicate 25 percent of UASI funds to law enforcement terrorism prevention activities.

“The Department of Homeland Security must continually innovate, evolve and improve upon our preparedness efforts to ensure our state and local partners are resilient for both today and tomorrow,” said Acting Secretary Chad Wolf of DHS. “The paradigm has shifted. Today’s DHS programs must improve our readiness in preventing, preparing for, protecting against, and responding to today’s evolving threats. “

“Our four priority areas, based on DHS’s assessment of recent attacks and other events and trend analysis from a variety of public and private sector sources, will help ensure the Department’s resources are applied most effectively,” he added. “Importantly, we have also included recommendations from governors and mayors, as well as national security experts and emergency management associations, in order to enhance our security posture going forward.”

Despite DHS’s pledge to ‘enhance security posture,’ security funding is down

Last year, funding in the form of UASI grants from DHS for New Jersey amounted to $20 million. For 2020, they are projected to be between $15 million and $19 million.

New Jersey will also receive less money in State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) grants than it received in the previous year. The SHSP provides federal assistance to address identified planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events.

New Jersey will receive only between $6.2 million and $7.7 million in SHSP funds, below the nearly $8 million the state was awarded in 2019.

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, representing New Jersey’s 9th district, said he was “deeply disturbed” by the proposal to cut New Jersey’s access to the grants.

“As the most urbanized, densely populated state in the union, this change is particularly perilous. It has been less than two months since Jersey City – one of the very areas this change would negatively impact – was attacked by domestic terrorists,” Pascrell said.

“At a time of rising domestic extremism, now is not the moment to shortchange our communities,” he said. “Incredibly, these funding restrictions hit New Jersey harder than neighboring regions. One more time, the Trump administration has seemingly put a bulls eye target right on the Garden State’s back. I am going to work with my colleagues to make sure New Jersey doesn’t get the short end of the stick in protecting our neighbors.”

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.