A “new era,” a “Trump Era,” on the fight against illegal immigration was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday (April 11) when he spoke to Customs and Border Protection personnel at the United States-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona.
Reading from a prepared statement, Sessions said that “it is also here, along this border, that transnational gangs like MS-13 and international cartels flood our country with drugs and leave death and violence in their wake. And it is here that criminal aliens and the coyotes and the document-forgers seek to overthrow our system of lawful immigration.”
Sessions seemed to refer to all immigrants who cross the border illegally as gangs and cartels and “criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent citizens and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders. Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings.”
The U.S. attorney general said that on this “sliver of land” — referring to Nogales — is where the fight will start and “where we first take our stand against this filth.” Adding that the president has made this a priority, and said, “the President and I want to do our best to arm you, and the prosecutors who partner with you, with more tools in your fight against criminal aliens.”
He emphasized that federal prosecutors are now required to consider for prosecution all of the following five offenses:
- The transportation or harboring of aliens. “No more,” he said. “We are going to shut down and jail those who have been profiting off this lawlessness.”
- Further, where an alien has unlawfully entered the country, which is a misdemeanor, that alien will now be charged with a felony if they unlawfully enter or attempt enter a second time and certain aggravating circumstances are present.
- Also, aliens that illegally re-enter the country after prior removal will be referred for felony prosecution — and a priority will be given to such offenses, especially where indicators of gang affiliation, a risk to public safety or criminal history are present.
- Fourth: where possible, prosecutors are directed to charge criminal aliens with document fraud and aggravated identity theft — the latter carrying a two-year mandatory minimum sentence.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly: I have directed that all 94 U.S. Attorneys Offices make the prosecution of assault on a federal law enforcement officer — that’s all of you — a top priority. If someone dares to assault one of our folks in the line of duty, they will do federal time for it.
Sessions stated that “we will put 50 more immigration judges on the bench this year and 75 next year. We can no longer afford to wait 18 to 24 months to get these new judges on the bench. So today, I have implemented a new, streamlined hiring plan.” He assured that the streamlining will require as much vetting as before. He did not elaborate how you ‘vet like before’ while reducing the time needed to do so…
The attorney general finished his remarks by thanking “the brave men and women in uniform who are at the front lines of this fight. I know we ask a tremendous amount from all of you, but know this: we have your back, and will do all we can to empower you and support you in your work.”
To read the complete Department of Justice release, click here.
[Photo at top: Session (left) conversing with Border Patrol personnel during a walk-through of the Arizona-Mexico border line.]