Good morning and welcome to Café San Diego.
There’s been a lot of media stories and interest in the recent dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys, including Carol Lam in San Diego. I want to highlight some information on this on-going story, to get our conversation started but please also feel free to ask questions or comment about other federal issues you want to bring to my attention.
On Feb. 15, 2007, an op-ed I wrote was published in The San Diego Union-Tribune describing the criticisms I had relating to the policies for prosecution of “coyotes” who smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States. You can read this by clicking here.
The problems with the prosecution of coyotes was first brought to my attention in Dec. 2003 by a reporter for the Riverside Press-Enterprise and I first wrote the U.S. Attorney in February 2004 to ask why one particular smuggler had been arrested and deported more than 20 times without ever having been prosecuted. This was followed up by a letter to then U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in July 2004.
I’d like to note, that the first correspondence I wrote occurred a year and a half before the Union-Tribune broke the story on the Duke Cunningham bribery scandal in June 2005.
I recognize that every U.S. attorney has to balance needs and resources, but it’s clear from information released by the Justice Department that the Southern District of California U.S. Attorney’s Office lagged behind the other four districts on the U.S./Mexico border in prosecuting border crimes. I never asked that Carol Lam be fired, but I was adamant over a three-year period that the situation with smugglers in San Diego needed to be addressed.