On May 28, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release addressing President Joe Biden’s submitted budget request for Fiscal Year 2022.  The request included $35.3 billion in funding for the Department of Justice.  The budget reflects some of the changes in priority from the Trump Administration to the Biden Administration.  DOJ’s press release highlighted 9 areas of focus that are set to receive increased funding – international and domestic terrorism, gun violence, civil rights, gender-based violence, criminal justice reform, law enforcement community relations, environmental justice, reduction of the immigration backlog, and cyber investigations and security.  Notably, the press release does not reflect an increased emphasis on white-collar enforcement, which would normally be expected with the transition to a Democrat administration.

DOJ’s press release emphasized an increase in the threat of domestic terrorism but said that it remains steadfast in its duty to help combat the threat of international extremist organizations.  The budget request seeks increased funding for the FBI, USAOs, and U.S. Marshalls to investigate and prosecute both domestic and international terrorism.  The press release further elaborated on its focus on civil rights.  The budget request seeks the re-establishment of the Office for Access to Justice and an increase in funding for the Civil Rights Division. Specifically, DOJ noted its efforts to protect voting rights and the prosecution of hate crimes especially those driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department highlighted $1.3 billion to support law enforcement agencies, programs that support community-oriented policing, and training for law enforcement on racial profiling, de-escalation and the duty to intervene. With regard to environmental enforcement, DOJ signaled its commitment to President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.”  The press release indicated there would be increased funding “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the impacts of climate change . . .”  Finally, DOJ highlighted its efforts to reduce a backlog in immigration applications, including asylum claims.  The budget provides for 100 additional Immigration Judges and attorneys and support staff to assist them.  The request also creates a program to support legal representation for immigrant children and families seeking asylum.   These areas of focus largely align with the expected shift in priorities between the Trump Administration and the Biden Administration.

The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with criminal and civil investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice.  If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.