CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On the job for just over six weeks, the top federal law enforcement official for the Southern District of Texas said his priorities are protecting the people that live in this district.
The district is the seventh largest in the county and is considered an extra-large one. It covers 44,000 square miles and 43 counties. Nine million people live in the district, which stretches from Houston, along the Gulf of Mexico, to the border.
Alamdar Hamdani is the first Asian American to hold this position in Texas and the fourth in the country. Amul Thapar was the first Asian American to be appointed to the position of U.S. Attorney.
"I emmigrated here in 1952 from England to the United States, we came here in search of the American Dream. My daddy was a cab driver, my mother worked minimum wage jobs," Hamdani said.
For Hamdani, his American dream was a journey, growing up as a poor immigrant in Texas.
He attended the University of Texas Law School and was working in private practice when the terrorist attacks of 9/11 changed everything.
It was then that he began defending people that looked like him, for no charge, he said.
Eventually, that road led to his application to become a prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office. It was there he focused on public corruption and national security cases.
"After being an assistant U.S. attorney and being in the DOJ for 15 years, I truly understood the importance and power of this office. The power to do good, the power to always do the right thing. Justice could mean a stiff sentence, and justice could mean probation," he said.
Appointed by President Joe Biden last year, Hamdani was confirmed in December. He said a majority of the cases the district — which includes Corpus Christi — prosecutes, involves the border.
"70-80 percent of the cases are either relating to the border or border adjacent. Which means human smuggling, violent crime, drugs, and even issues like national security," Hamdani said.
Other issues include healthcare fraud, white-collar crime, and public corruption.
"Public corruption is a priority of my office. we will pursue cases without fear or favor, it doesn't matter which political party someone may be a part of," he said. "We look again at every case, we look at the facts, and we look at the law and we follow those where they may lead. And that goes for whether it's public corruption or violent crime, whether it's foreign corrupt practices or human smuggling."
"This office handles a wide variety of cases and when it comes to the protection of the citizens of the district of Texas, the Southern District of Texas, we don't have the luxury of picking which crimes should be pursued," Hamdani added.
As the newly appointed U.S. Attorney, he said he has three priorities. To protect the rule of law, the people of the district and protect civil rights.