CONGRESSMAN HENRY CUELLAR ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL SOUTHWEST BORDER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEYS
US Congress appropriated $7 million in emergency funding to prosecute crime along the border
Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar announced that funds appropriated in the recently passed 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act will be used to expand the prosecution of criminal activity along the border, providing for 64 Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) and 35 contract support staff positions along the southern regions of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
The increased resources will support federal law enforcement activities along the U.S.-Mexico border region that will aid in prosecuting federal cases stemming from the increase of federal case work along the border. Specifically, the Southern District of Texas, which includes Laredo, McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley region, will receive funding for 13 AUSAs and seven support staff to prosecute drug and gun smuggling, human trafficking, violent crimes and money laundering.
“I thank Congressman Culberson and other colleagues such as Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, Congressman Solomon Ortiz and Congressman Silvestre Reyes for working to stop border violence,” said Cuellar. “I am also grateful for the expedient pace at which Deputy Attorney General Mark R. Filip moved to help us in our effort.”
The funding will also provide for new positions that will aid in misdemeanor prosecution initiatives like Operation Streamline. Initially established in Del Rio, Texas, Operation Streamline has demonstrated a reduced number of illegal crossing and is now implemented in Laredo, Texas.
“The burdens we face along the border are great, and as a result, casework is extremely heavy,” said Cuellar. “Illegal crossers, drug and gun smugglers, and violent crimes associated with drug cartels will be put to justice with this funding.”
“This great news sends a very strong message to those committing crime in our community: the more aggressive we get in prosecuting illegal activity, the less inclined criminals will be to break the law now that the threat of prosecution is stronger and the stakes are higher.”