DOJ Eliminates Special Immigration Prosecutors

The U.S. Department of Justice will not renew funding for 81 special prosecutor positions created under the 2010 Southwest Border Immigration Bill, The Associated Press reported.

For the past year, the Southwest Border Initiative special prosecutors in border states and inland states with large illegal immigrant populations have focused solely on immigration enforcement matters. Sixty-eight of the prosecutors will still be able to work Southwest Border Initiative cases, but their workloads will be diversified in the upcoming year, said Jessica Smith, a DOJ spokesperson.

Barry Disney, a special prosecutor who left the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas after hearing that his position would not be renewed, told the AP there is still a need for the special immigration prosecutor in Kansas, given the large immigrant population working at the state’s meatpacking and other food processing plants.

Speaking to the effects of eliminating the positions, Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, told the AP, “In those specific districts experiencing heavy caseloads, especially on the border, I think in terms of judicial resources and DOJ resources it could be significant, and I expect it would put pressure on the remaining people in office.”

At the direction of President Barack Obama, the DOJ recently began a review of all pending deportation cases to expedite high-priority prosecutions of repeat offenders and violent criminals.