Additional Federal Prosecutors Headed to South Texas
BROWNSVILLE – More federal prosecutors are headed to the border to help reduce the immigration court backlog.
Ryan Patrick, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas, says they will continue adhering to the zero-tolerance memo issued in April by the Attorney General’s Office.
But in spite of the rise in prosecutions of illegal entry, the level of prosecutions is far from the 27,000 cases prosecuted in the district in 2013.
The government plans to hire eight attorneys to focus solely on border prosecutions. Two will be placed in the McAllen courthouse, one in Brownsville, another in Corpus Christi and two in Laredo.
"Fully staffed, we're probably close to 200 assistant U.S. attorneys throughout the district," Patrick explained. "What can I tell you is, like many federal agencies, we're going through a hiring freeze. So, just the attrition of losing folks left, but we have some terrific career prosecutors who are in our office, who know how to do these cases, who've done them before and they've done them at these rates before."
Patrick added they had about 50 vacancies for attorneys and support staff they needed to fill since January. They're currently working on filling about 30 attorney positions throughout the district.
He said since the zero-tolerance policy, they are handling 100 percent of cases referred by Border Patrol.
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