Texas DAs Refuse Border Patrol Cases ; Border District Attorneys Are Refusing Federal Drug-Smuggling Cases, Starting This Month

By Scott Baldauf writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, October 24, 2000 | Go to article overview

Texas DAs Refuse Border Patrol Cases ; Border District Attorneys Are Refusing Federal Drug-Smuggling Cases, Starting This Month


Scott Baldauf writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


For years, Laredo prosecutor Joe Rubio took on Border Patrol drug-smuggling cases as a courtesy to his federal counterparts. But more recently, as the Patrol doubled its staff and generated thousands of additional arrests, his act of benevolence has become a burden.

That's why Mr. Rubio, along with most of the district attorneys on the Texas-Mexico border, refuses to take any more federal cases.

Their quiet rebellion represents a red-flag warning that America's eight-year buildup along the US-Mexico border is showing signs of strain.

While prosecutors shrink from calling it a "boycott," their move is forcing a reexamination of the approach to criminal justice in the area and could impact America's fight against narcotics trafficking. "We want to fight the war on drugs, but we want to be equal partners," says Rubio, district attorney for Webb and Zapata counties, who stopped taking cases after years of asking Congress to reimburse the counties for costs. "We realized we're being taken advantage of here."

In recent years, Congress and the White House have outspent each other doubling the manpower of the US Border Patrol and increasing the staffs at the Drug Enforcement Agency and the US Customs Service as well. Somehow, adding law clerks, judges, and prosecutors to handle the increased caseloads didn't seem as "sexy" as adding another man in uniform. Now the Texas court system, from Brownsville to El Paso and beyond, is bursting at the seams.

"Border areas have not been paid attention to historically, and now these guys are overworked," says Rodolfo de la Garza, director of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Texas in Austin. "It's surprising that it has reached this point, but it's in line with the movement of states to pay for the implementation - and failure - of US immigration policy."

The number of federal drug busts and illegal immigration cases springing from the increased Border Patrol presence is staggering. The five US federal districts that stretch from California to the Texas Gulf Coast handle more than 26 percent of all criminal court filings in the United States. Drug prosecutions in these border courts nearly doubled between 1994 and '98, from 2,864 to 5,414 cases, and immigration prosecutions quintupled, from 1,056 to 5,614.

In Texas, border district attorneys say they support the goals of drug and immigration prosecution, but have ceased taking federal cases as of Oct. 1, because of their cost. Only two prosecutors continue to accept federal cases. In return, they receive a portion of a $12 million federal emergency appropriation, passed by Congress this summer. Each of the four border states will divide equally the money, which is intended for court costs and jail construction.

Those who have joined the boycott says Texas's $3 million share of the federal piggybank doesn't come close to meeting the bulk of their costs. Federal drug cases in Webb County alone cost some $1 million a year to handle, says Rubio. With federal money stretched thin, the financial burden shifts to the citizens of South Texas, among the poorest regions in America.

"What started as a courtesy became a practice, and then almost an expectation, and then almost a demand," says Yolanda de Leon, district attorney for Cameron County in Brownsville. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Texas DAs Refuse Border Patrol Cases ; Border District Attorneys Are Refusing Federal Drug-Smuggling Cases, Starting This Month
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.