Speaking to Fox News' Sean Hannity Tuesday night, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated that the U.S. -Mexico border is not open for illegal activity and that those considering crossing into the U.S. unlawfully should stay home.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in his first trip to the U.S. -Mexico border, detailed the changes as an attempt to "establish lawfulness in our immigration system". "But it is also here, along this border, that transnational gangs like MS-13 and worldwide cartels flood our country with drugs and leave death and violence in their wake". "This is the Trump era", Sessions told the crowd of Customs and Border Protection personnel in the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
The guidance issued by Mr. Sessions orders federal prosecutors to prioritize criminal charges against illegal immigrants with a history of prior removals or other criminal convictions as well as charges against those who aid in the smuggling of illegal immigrants into the United States.
The Attorney General said the Trump Administration's focus on stemming the flow of immigrants across the border is an effort to protect communities from the violence he argues that immigrants bring. "We must follow up on the successes we've had so far, and here on the border, we will do so", Sessions said.
Texas is now the primary crossing point for both drugs and undocumented entries.
"Starting today, federal prosecutors are now required to consider for prosecution all of the following offenses, often not prosecuted in the past", Sessions said.
The DOJ also announced it will hire 50 immigration judges by the end of 2017, along with an additional 75 judges by the end of next year - for context, there are only about 270 immigration judges currently - reflecting what the memo calls "the dire need" to reduce the country's backlog of about 508,000 immigration cases.
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And if Sessions almost evoking "filth" to refer to a group of people, a favorite term that Nazi-era propagandists used to dehumanize Jews, doesn't send enough of a shiver down your spine, the attorney general apparently did go on to declare: "This is a new era".
In addition to the new guidelines for federal prosecutors, Sessions also reiterated his intention to have "all adults who are apprehended at the border" detained, and to place immigration judges in detention centers.
A memo released by the Justice Department said each USA attorney will now be required to appoint a border security coordinator.
In March, Sessions said that the Justice Department will expand an existing program aimed at holding deportation hearings for immigrants while they are still in federal prison known as the Institutional Hearing Program. "They will not be released", Sessions said.
Sessions credited Trump's tough talk on immigration for the decline.
On Tuesday, Sessions issued a memo calling on federal attorneys to ramp up the prosecution of undocumented immigrants (or "aliens", as he calls them in the memo) for identity fraud, document theft, and fraudulent marriages. He said his office will respect local control and local authority of the nation's law enforcement departments, which is needed for effective policing.