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DOJ figures show increase in terrorism, immigration prosecutions

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website; JURIST news archive] has increasingly turned its focus to terrorism and immigration offenses since 2000, according to a Washington Post report Wednesday. Statistics from the Executive Office for US Attorneys [official website] provided to the Post showed significant decreases in prosecution under the Bush administration of organized crime (down 38 percent), white collar crime (down 10 percent), environmental crimes (down 12 percent), bankruptcy fraud (down 46 percent), and drug money-laundering crimes (down 25 percent). The data also showed an 876 percent increase in terrorism and national security prosecutions, a 36 percent increase in immigration prosecutions, and near 300 percent increase in child pornography and obscenity prosecutions. The reported figures were similar to those published monthly by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse [group site], an independent DOJ tracker.

The DOJ shifts have been criticized as further examples of the politicization of the department [JURIST news archive], as the administration's national security priorities have displaced more traditional prosecutions. In addition, local law enforcement agencies complain that the DOJ has delegated non-terrorism prosecution while decreasing local police budgets, from $2.5 billion in 1997 to $1.1 billion in the 2008 proposal. The US violent crime rate [JURIST news archive] rose in 2005 and 2006, the first such increases in over a decade. FBI Director Robert Mueller addressed [speech text] these concerns Monday in a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police [association website], saying that federal agencies have realized that "national security is as much about reducing the number of homicides on our streets as it is about reducing the threat of terrorism," though emphasizing that resources were limited on all levels.

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