Leahy And Shaheen Ask Acting Attorney General Whitaker Whether "Zero Tolerance" Policy Has Drained Resources From Drug-Trafficking Prosecutions

Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, are asking Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker about reports that the Justice Department’s resources for serious drug-trafficking prosecutions are being drained by the resources required to prosecute minor immigration offenses under President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.

As part of the Appropriations Committee’s oversight responsibilities in funding the Justice Department, they point out that committee needs answers about whether taxpayer dollars are being used responsibly and effectively to address the nation’s most serious problems.  

In their oversight letter, Leahy and Shaheen wrote:  “We write to express our concerns about reports that the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy may have diverted significant public safety resources away from prosecuting serious drug-trafficking offenses along the southern border.  As the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, responsible for funding the Justice Department, we need to understand whether the Department’s finite resources to prosecute drug trafficking offenders along our border are being funneled toward a policy that has failed to have its intended deterrent effect of reducing illegal border crossings.”

A full copy of their letter is available here: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/download/111418-leahy-and-shaheen-zero-tolerance-letter.  

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