Prosecutor warned border authorities office is ‘diverting’ DOJ resources from other cases: report

Prosecutor warned border authorities office is ‘diverting’ DOJ resources from other cases: report
© Greg Nash

Federal prosecutors warned border officials just days after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsLisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over alleged privacy violations Sessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows Trump rebukes FBI chief Wray over inspector general's Russia inquiry MORE enacted a "zero tolerance" policy for illegal immigration that resources would need to be diverted from other cases to handle the workload.

Records obtained by USA Today show that a Justice Department (DOJ) supervisor in San Diego emailed border control authorities warning that immigration-related cases “will occupy substantially more of our resources" in the coming days as the Trump administration increased the number of prosecutions for illegal entry.

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Drug smuggling cases, the supervisor warned, would need to be "streamlined," at least in Southern California, where the DOJ lawyer who sent the email, Fred Sheppard, is based. The email warned that any case on which agents couldn't meet the new high requirements would be "declined."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office told USA Today that the Justice Department “has given our district the necessary resources – including 10 additional prosecutor positions plus at least five Department of Defense attorneys - to prosecute all of these crimes.”

But spokeswoman Tanya Sierra of the San Diego District Attorney’s Office separately told USA Today on Friday that the number of smuggling cases referred by the government had doubled since Sessions announced a zero tolerance crackdown at the border.

The Trump administration backed off on its policy of separating families awaiting prosecution for illegal entry this week.

Administration officials have denied reports that the zero tolerance policy will end.