Priority One: Protecting Our Communities
By U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph
As our Constitution provides, it is my duty as the newly appointed United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” We are a nation of laws, designed to promote and foster an environment where citizens can live in safety and security. Working in cooperation with our federal, state and local partners throughout the 42 parishes that constitute the District, I intend to achieve that goal by focusing the priorities of my office on reducing violent crime, enforcing immigration laws, stemming the nationwide opioid epidemic, ferreting out public corruption and protecting our environment and natural resources.
After years of decline, violent crime rates in our state are on the rise. United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions and I are committed to using the Department of Justice’s law enforcement and community resources to combat violent crime at every turn. I have instructed the prosecutors in my office to take every action available to take guns out of the hands of felons and remove armed felons and drug dealers from our streets and neighborhoods. In furtherance of this aim, we are pursuing the most serious charges supported by the evidence against violent offenders. One way we are implementing this directive is through the reinvigorated Project Safe Neighborhoods program, which prosecutes felons and individuals involved in criminal enterprises, such as drug trafficking, that are in possession of firearms and pose a threat to the neighborhoods where they operate. Moving forward in this way will reduce crime by removing the worst offenders from neighborhoods – thereby allowing the families living in those neighborhoods to live their lives in peace.
Enforcement of our country’s immigration laws is of vital importance to the supremacy of law in our country and protects our citizens by ensuring dangerous aliens are deported. The promise of the American Dream has brought us immigrants from across the globe seeking life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These immigrants have contributed greatly to our country and have made it what it is today. But the foundation of the success of America, and what allows our democracy to flourish, is our shared commitment to the Rule of Law. There is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws. Rather, our failure to faithfully enforce those laws puts our nation at risk of crime and even terrorism. So, my office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who violate our immigration laws, particularly aliens with violent criminal histories.
Consistent enforcement of our immigration laws also protects immigrants from exploitation and American workers from unfair competition. Illegal aliens use our roads, schools and hospitals, often without paying into the system as taxpayers. Accordingly, those who hire illegal immigrants are unlawfully pushing a portion of their labor costs onto the taxpayers and hospitals of Louisiana. For that reason, my office will also hold accountable those businesses who ignore immigration laws and hire illegal aliens.
Opioid abuse is now among our country’s most pressing law enforcement and public health crises. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control reported that 115 Americans die every day from opioid overdose, about 40 percent of which involves a prescription drug. My office will use all the tools at its disposal to prosecute drug crime, including those crimes committed by doctors and other medical professionals who run “pill mills.” In addition to prosecutions, my office will also continue its community outreach efforts to warn the public—particularly young people—of the dangers posed by illegal drugs. Those efforts have and will continue to include, in cooperation with the DEA, FBI and others, presentations to our schoolchildren throughout the District that explain the dangers of opioids and drug abuse.
Public corruption erodes the public’s confidence in government and deprives individuals and businesses of fair treatment. We must make sure that our public servants are putting Louisianans first and let the world know that Louisiana is a great place to live and a great place to do business. As such, we will aggressively prosecute those who violate the public’s trust and use public office as a way to illegally line their own pockets.
Louisiana is a beautiful state with a vast, diverse ecosystem that is rich in natural resources. These environmental treasures should be protected from those who would illegally exploit or damage them. Our office has prosecuted and will continue to aggressively prosecute those who poison our environment and will seek restitution for any damages they inflict.
Obviously, my office does not act alone in its mission. The dedicated men and women of the office work cooperatively with other federal agencies and our state and local law enforcement partners. It is through coming together and upholding the Rule of Law that we faithfully execute the principles inherent in our Constitution and ultimately “secure the blessings of liberty” for our citizens.
David C. Joseph was appointed by President Donald Trump to be the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, which consists of 42 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes and encompasses two-thirds of the State of Louisiana. This area covers the cities of Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe and Shreveport. Sworn in on March 30, 2018, Joseph oversees the investigation and litigation of all criminal and civil cases brought on behalf of the United States in the Western District. For more information visit, www.justice.gov/usao-wdla.