A Quick Look At The President’s 2019 Budget Request For DOJ

Posted On Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What Happened

President Trump requested $28 billion for the Department of Justice in his budget proposal for the 2019 fiscal year.  

The Rundown

The request reemphasizes this administration’s priorities in fighting violent crime and crimes related to immigration, and, of course, in combating the opioid epidemic. 

$295 million of the total budget request is slotted for program enhancements related to the opioid epidemic.  This amount includes $31.2 million to fund eight new heroin enforcement groups that will target DEA field divisions that have identified heroin as the first or second greatest threat to the area.  It would also provide for $6.8 million to expand the DEA’s Fentanyl Signature Profiling Program and $2.5 million for identification technology and protective equipment for agents to prevent exposure to deadly opioids in the field.  The vast majority of the $295 million will go to facilitating coordination of the DEA’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Programs with other DEA programs to focus resources where drug trafficking poses the greatest threats. 

$65.9 million of the budget would focus on immigration-related enhancements, such as border security and enforcement and the hiring of 76 additional immigration judges and their support staff.  Other budget highlights include $109.2 million for combating violent crime; $10 million for BOP’s apprentice program; $3 billion for the Crime Victims Fund, including $486 million for Violence Against Women programs and $45 million for victims of human trafficking; and $3.9 billion in discretionary and mandatory funding for Federal grants to State, local, and tribal law enforcement.

The Take Away

Given the political conflict over the budget for the remaining portion of 2018, which almost led to a government shutdown in mid-March, the President’s proposed 2019 budget, which was introduced in mid-February, may not carry much weight by the time Congress acts on it.  Though some political commentators have argued that the 2019 budget proposal is nothing more than a political document, it does provide criminal practitioners with some insight into the administration’s law enforcement priorities. 

If you become the target of a government investigation, in any capacity, please contact Jennifer Bouriat, one of Pittsburgh’s top defense white-collar attorneys, today.