Attorney General Jeff Sessions is adding more than 300 new prosecutors across the country to combat the opioid crisis, violent crime and illegal immigration, the Justice Department announced Monday.
All told, 311 new Assistant U.S. Attorney positions will be created. It is said to be the largest expansion of the Justice Department in decades.
Among the new prosecutors, 190 will focus on violent crimes, 86 on civil enforcement, many of which will focus on the opioid epidemic, and 35 on immigration violations. The addition of 35 new immigration prosecutors are in addition to the 35 assistant attorneys and 18 judges Mr. Sessions ordered to the Mexican border last month.
The Eastern District of New York and Puerto Rico will each receive the largest allocation of assistant U.S. attorneys focused on violent crime with five each, the Justice Department said. An additional 12 districts, including the Northern District of Illinois, Southern District of New York, Southern District of Ohio, and the Northern District of Texas, will each receive four new violent crime prosecutors.
“Under President Trump’s strong leadership, the Department of Justice is going on offense against violent crime, illegal immigration and the opioid crisis — and today we are sending in reinforcements,” Mr. Sessions said in a statement announcing the new Assistant U.S. Attorneys.
The new prosecutors will come with a price tag of roughly $72 million, but Mr. Sessions said the Justice Department cleared funds for them by eliminating “wasteful spending.” More than $702 million was cut from the Justice Department’s 2018 budget.
“When we can eliminate wasteful spending, one of my first questions to my staff is if we can deploy more prosecutors to where they are needed,” Mr. Sessions said.
Adding new prosecutors has long been among Mr. Sessions’ goals since he was appointed Attorney General last year. He first announced the plan, which is part of President Trump’s campaign promise to reduce crime, last May as part of the Justice Department’s budget proposal.
The attorney general said he is excited about the new blood joining the Justice Department.
“I have personally worked to repurpose existing funds to support this critical mission, and as a former federal prosecutor myself, my expectations could not be higher,” he said. “These exceptional and talented prosecutors are key leaders in our crime fighting partnership.”