DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
FY 2016 Total Request: $28.654 billion [FY 2015 Enacted: $26.227 billion; request represents a 9.2 percent increase]. The administration’s budget submission for FY 2016 includes, among other things, a request for an additional $65 million for enforcement components; $125 million for litigating components; and $146 million for immigration, administration, technology and support functions.
Law Enforcement: $13.481 billion [FY 2015 Enacted: $13.357 billion; request represents a 0.9 percent increase]. The law enforcement components of the Department of Justice include the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
- The Drug Enforcement Administration will continue to place special emphasis on Mexican drug traffickers.
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will continue to place a high priority on illegal firearms trafficking, including cross-border trafficking, and therefore will continue to operate enforcement groups along the U.S. borders and the Caribbean.
- The U.S. Marshals Service includes the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS), which is responsible for transporting detainees in its custody and federal prison system prisoners. The Marshals Service houses more than 55,000 detainees each day in federal, state, local and private jails throughout the nation. An increase of $7.5 million is being requested for prisoner transportation and security.
U.S. Attorneys: $2.032 billion [FY 2015 Enacted: $1.960 billion; request represents a 3.6 percent increase]. Among other tasks, U.S. Attorneys enforce immigration laws and combat and deter southwest border-related crime. U.S. Attorneys also work with the Civil Rights Division in prosecuting civil rights violations. The administration is requesting $6.9 million in additional funding for 60 additional attorneys to prosecute civil rights violations.
Civil Rights Division: $175.0 million [FY 2015 Enacted: $147.2 million; request represents an 18.9 percent increase]. The Civil Rights Division enforces the nation’s civil rights laws, including civil rights violations associated with human trafficking, hate crimes, police misconduct and unfair immigration-related employment practices. The requested increase in funding includes (among other things) an additional $2.8 million and 18 attorneys to combat human trafficking and an additional $305,000 and two attorneys to expand the capacity of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) to resolve complaints associated with immigration and employment status queries run through the E-Verify process.
Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR): $481.9 million [FY 2015 Enacted: $347.2 million; request represents a 38.8 percent increase]. The FY 2015 Enacted and FY 2016 request include an annual $4 million transfer from the Department of Homeland Security Immigration Examinations Fee Account to EOIR. EOIR contains 58 immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). It adjudicates all deportation hearings and subsequent administrative appeals hearings. The administration is asking for more resources for EOIR to cope with the backlog in immigration court cases, which had increased to nearly 419,000 by the end of FY 2014, an increase of 83 percent since 2009.
The top priority for EOIR is the adjudication of cases of unaccompanied children, families in detention and families released on alternatives to detention. It also is prioritizing individuals who are threats to national security and public safety and those who are apprehended at or near the border or who are recent border crossers, in accordance with the president’s prosecutorial discretion directives.
Requested increases in resources include:
- Legal Representation for Children: $50 million. The administration is requesting funding for two years to provide legal assistance to unaccompanied minors, which increases efficiency in immigration court proceedings. This is a new request, arising from the sharply increased number of unaccompanied minors who crossed the southern border in the past year.
- Immigration Judge Teams: $60 million. The administration is seeking 55 new Immigration Judge Teams to reduce the pending caseload. Each team consists of an immigration judge, a language specialist, a legal technician, a clerk, a law clerk and one administrative support position. In addition, every two Immigration Judge Teams would share a BIA attorney and a paralegal.
- Legal Orientation Program: $10 million. The administration seeks to expand the grants program to nonprofit organizations to provide “know your rights” presentations in immigration detention centers. This successful program increases efficiency through more informed decisions by respondents in immigration court, and it is an important component of the strategy to reduce the pending caseload.
Office of Immigration Litigation: $70.1 million. [FY 2015 Enacted: $68.7 million; request represents a 2.0 percent increase]. The Office of Immigration Litigation (OIL) is in the department’s Civil Division. The administration is requesting an additional $1.4 million for eight attorneys and two other positions to help the Office of Immigration Litigation respond to an increasing number of immigration-related class-action lawsuits.
Community Relations Service: $14.4 million [FY 2015 Enacted: $12.2 million; request represents an 18.0 percent increase]. CRS provides assistance to state and local communities in the prevention and resolution of tension, violence and civil disorders relating to actual or perceived discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin. It works with communities to prevent and respond to hate crimes and address tension associated with alleged discrimination. Among other things, the requested increase will provide an additional $557,000 and eight positions for hate crime prevention and response and an additional $775,000 and 10 positions for a new program, the Collaborative Community Strengthening Initiative.
State Criminal Alien Assistance Program: $0 [FY 2015 Enacted: $185 million; budget would eliminate program funding]. This program is part of the Office of Justice Programs, State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance and provides federal payments to states and localities that incurred correctional costs for incarcerating undocumented immigrants. The administration has previously attempted to end this program, and thus far Congress has not approved an elimination (or reduction) in funding.
Victims of Trafficking Grant Program: $10.5 million [FY 2015 Enacted: $42.25 million; request represents a 75 percent decrease]. Housed under the Office of Justice Programs, this program empowers local law enforcement to better identify and rescue trafficking victims.
Office on Violence Against Women: $473.5 million [FY 2015 Enacted: $430 million; request represents a 10.1 percent increase]. The Office on Violence Against Women administers programs aimed at reducing violence against women (including immigrant women) and providing assistance for victims of domestic violence.
Community Policing (COPS): $303.5 million [FY 2015 Enacted: $208.0 million, request represents a 45.9 percent increase]. Established in 1994, the mission of the COPS Office is to advance public safety through the practice of community policing. In FY 2016 there will be a new $69.5 million for a COPS Hiring Program with $5 million used as incentive grants to improve diversity in law enforcement.