The top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts has stepped up prosecutions of illegal immigrants who have re-entered the country after being deported, and he’s making sure that the public knows about it.
William Weinreb, the acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, concedes that his office is still building up its caseload against immigration violators, but the office’s public affairs shop is drawing far more attention to those efforts than it did under Weinreb’s predecessor, the Boston Herald reported.
Weinreb’s office issued 12 separate press releases in May concerning cases of previously deported illegal immigrants being charged, convicted or sentenced for illegal re-entry after deportation, a common immigration crime that carries a maximum sentence of two years. The office sent three news releases about such cases in the span of seven minutes on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
In comparison, Carmen Ortiz, the previous U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts, issued 10 press releases on illegal re-entry charges over her final five years, reports the Herald.
“I think in the weeks or months to come, you’re going to see those numbers increase, as well the numbers of other kinds of immigration crime,” Weinreb told the Herald. He also said that his office has added a designated prosecutor to manage illegal re-entry cases as part of “adjustments” within the office.
As for the media blitz, Weinreb says that spreading the message of aggressive immigration prosecutions will make people think twice about coming back to the U.S. after being removed.
“We do make sure we publicize our efforts so the cases that we bring will have a deterrent effect,” he said.
Weinreb became acting U.S. attorney when Ortiz resigned in January. The longtime prosecutor gained local fame as one of the lead attorneys in the prosecution of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The Trump administration, which has yet to name any permanent U.S. attorneys to replace those it dismissed in March, has not indicated if it will retain Weinreb as the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts.
Weinreb denies that he is publicizing illegal re-entry cases in order to burnish his image in the eyes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has made the prosecution of immigration crimes a priority for all U.S. attorneys across the Department of Justice (DOJ). (RELATED: ‘THIS IS THE TRUMP ERA’: Sessions Announces New Push To Prosecute Illegal Immigrants)
“We don’t bring cases for the sake of publicizing them or publicizing them for any reason other than to deter others,” Weinreb told the Herald, adding that the public has “a right to know whether or not we are pursuing the DOJ priorities.”
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