TUCSON, Ariz. (Lawfuel) — The Department of Justice will increase resources to support federal law enforcement activities on the Southwest Border through $7 million for U.S. Attorneys’ offices in that region, Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip announced today during a trip to the Southwest Border region.
The Southwest Border U.S. Attorneys’ offices will receive funding for 64 Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) and 35 contract support staff positions to expand the prosecution of criminal activity along the border in the Southern District of California, the District of Arizona, the District of New Mexico, the Southern District of Texas, and the Western District of Texas.
“Border issues are a top priority for the Department of Justice,” said Deputy Attorney General Filip. “This infusion of resources will provide for new prosecutors and staff as part of the Department’s comprehensive, but flexible, strategy to fight crime along the border.”
With the new funding, the Southern District of California will receive seven AUSAs and five support staff; the District of Arizona will receive 21 AUSAs and 11 support staff; the District of New Mexico will receive seven AUSAs and five support staff; the Southern District of Texas will receive 13 AUSAs and seven support staff; and the Western District of Texas will receive 16 AUSAs and seven support staff.
The new positions will help increase Southwest Border enforcement in fighting criminal immigration offenses including human trafficking, drug and gun smuggling, violent crimes and money laundering. The positions also will assist the districts in carrying out a number of border initiatives currently being executed. For example, Operation Streamline and other misdemeanor prosecution initiatives will receive support to continue their efforts.
While in Arizona, Deputy Attorney General Filip toured the Nogales Port of Entry and met with federal law enforcement officials to see first hand the need for more resources to successfully carry out law enforcement efforts along the Southwest Border. On Friday, he is expected to visit Brownsville, Texas where he will again meet with federal law enforcement involved in border enforcement.
The allocations announced today are the result of funds appropriated in the 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act. As part of the Justice Department’s ongoing commitment to combating border crimes, the Department also requested an increase in border funding for the Department’s FY 2009 budget. Specifically, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey announced in January $100 million in new funding as part of the FY 2009 budget request for the Administration’s Southwest Border Enforcement Initiative. If funded by Congress, the new resources will better enable the United States to combat the flow of illegal immigration, drugs and weapons across the Southwest Border.
Today’s announcement is one of a number of steps that President Bush and his Administration have taken within the boundaries of existing law to secure our borders more effectively, improve interior and worksite enforcement, streamline existing guest worker programs, improve the current immigration system and help new immigrants.