TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Several members of New Jersey's Congressional delegation are calling on the federal government to release about $4 million the state has been awarded through a public safety grant program.

The eight Democrats — including both of the state's senators — made the request Monday in a letter sent to the Justice Department. They also expressed "serious concern" about the department's efforts put immigration restrictions on the grants to punish "sanctuary" states and communities.

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grants pay for police overtime, upgrade equipment and courtroom technology and train officers.

The Justice Department wants states and cities to notify immigration agents when someone in the United States illegally is about to be released from custody.

A DOJ spokesman said Monday the grant disbursement delay is related to legal issues involving a lawsuit brought by the city of Chicago.