WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Attorney General Merrick Garland is appealing to Congress to beef up funding for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Appearing at his first budget hearing Tuesday, Garlands asked for millions more to support initiatives designed by President Joe Biden’s administration.
“From protecting voting rights to prosecuting hate crimes like those experienced by our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities,” Garland listed. “We have growing fear of domestic violent extremism, domestic terrorism. … Both of those keep me up at night.”
He added that a bigger budget would fund new grants to encourage states to adopt more restrictive gun laws and additional community programs, as well as improve police training.
“There is more that we can do to make our communities safer,” he said.
Democrats say the Justice Department’s requests are justified. While Republicans agree on some points, they argue the Biden administration is prioritizing liberal agenda items while overlooking systemic failures at the border and Second Amendment rights.
Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., said the Biden administration’s policies “lack the proper grounding in evidence or in science.”
He argued Garland should be more focused on criminals than law-abiding gun owners.
“If the Department of Justice truly wants to address gun crime, it must not waste its precious resources on these liberal feel-good programs like gun buybacks,” he said.
Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., was concerned about drug and human trafficking at the southern border, calling the situation there “basically … an invasion.”
Garland said his budget request includes money for 100 additional immigration judges to process the backlog of migrants seeking asylum.