(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that the $5 million she included in a 2010 spending bill for Northern Border law enforcement has passed the full Senate. This funding will support local governments burdened with border-related prosecutions.
"These funds will support northern border communities that are being crushed by the costs of policing and prosecuting border-related crimes," said Senator Patty Murray. “Border crimes are federal crimes, and I am committed to relieving the burden on northern border local law enforcement offices. Our border communities face serious challenges from fugitives and drug trafficking, and they deserve the resources they need to keep our borders safe.”
Southern border communities have had access to similar grants for years, and Senator Murray has been outspoken about this inequity. In March, Murray sent a letter to Attorney General Holder urging him to make funding available quickly to northern border communities. In June, the Department of Justice responded by announcing the solicitation for the Northern Border Prosecution Initiative (NBPI) that would make funding available for local communities.
The NBPI helps local communities pay for judicial, penal, and enforcement expenses that result from federal border-related crime, such as captured international fugitives and international drug trafficking. When the U.S. Department of Justice declines to prosecute these federal border-related crimes, that burden often falls on Northern Border communities to prosecute them under state law.
The funding in the initiative is distributed by a formula payment based on the number of days from the time that the U.S. Attorney’s office declines to take a case until the day that the county/city resolves the case. The Northern Border Prosecutor Initiative pays for jail costs, judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys.
The funding was included in the fiscal year 2010 Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill, which passed the Senate today by a vote of 71-28. Senator Murray is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.