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Reader Todd said in response to my first post this morning that he’d be:
curious to know what response you got back from Justice regarding your concerns. As you know, Senator Feinstein sent a letter to the Justice Department asking about Lam’s prosecution of immigration cases as well.
Joejoejoe also posted a link to a letter posted on The San Diego Union-Tribune that is addressed to me and he notes correctly that the letter states:
Please rest assured that the immigration laws in the Southern District of California are being vigorously enforced.
I’d like to make a side point here in this discussion about media honesty: The letter referenced was never sent to me. The letter posted by the Union-Tribune was a draft and while the Union-Tribune never specifically claims that the letter was either sent or a final draft, it definitely leaves readers with that impression, which I think is misleading and not the best example of good journalism.
I would, however, agree that the draft of the unsent letter followed a disturbing pattern by the Justice Department. Here is the letter sent by Senator Feinstein to Attorney General Gonzales and the response the department sent to the senator (these documents were recently made public by the Justice Department). I’d note that Senator Feinstein asks three very specific questions and the letter she gets in response doesn’t answer any of the three questions she raised.
Now, take a look at this Justice Department analysis on immigration prosecutions in the Southern District of CA (SDCA) from May 2006. The report concludes on page four,
It appears that SDCA is employing prosecution guidelines that are more restrictive that other districts in immigration prosecutions. The most immediate fix would be to change the prosecution guidelines so they are more in line with the guidelines employed by other border districts. In particular, SDCA should place a greater emphasis on pursuing illegal reentry cases and alien smuggling cases.
Look at the contrast! The Justice Department publicly defends Lam to members of Congress while privately they note that her district doesn’t stack up to others and they believe her policies need to be changed. The fact that the Justice Department has not been honest and forthcoming about information related to the eight U.S. Attorneys is hardly a surprise — I dealt with it for three years on this issue.
The reason I did not accept the explanations the Justice Department gave me was because my office was continually told by members of the border patrol and others that there was a problem and that the SDCA’s deterrence strategy for smugglers was not working.