United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday about the Trump administration's clamp down on the United States border with Mexico, making his position on illegal immigration very clear.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions heralded the start of The Trump Era of immigration by revealing stricter punishments for illegal immigrants Tuesday. "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".
President Donald Trump vowed to stop unauthorized immigration and expel many undocumented people from the country, and he picked an ally in Sessions, who spent much of his Senate career advocating for tougher enforcement.
Speaking in Arizona, Sessions added, "It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth".
But Sessions made the visit to highlight his focus on enforcing federal laws as dozens of USA cities try to shield illegal immigrants from stepped-up prosecution and deportation efforts.
Sessions' memo to federal prosecutors (PDF) said each U.S. Attorney's office should designate a "border security coordinator" to oversee the prosecutions.
Sessions announced the department is expanding prosecution parameters and focusing on those who cross the border illegally a couple of times.
Bringing felony charges against illegal aliens who have already been deported at least twice or have been deported at least once and have a history of felony crime, gang membership, or other aggravating factors. He also announced DOJ would hire 125 additional judges over the next two years to reduce a massive case backlog in the immigration courts.
"I think there's no doubt that the barrier, the wall, will have a great and positive impact", Sessions said. Trump said during the campaign that Mexico was sending criminals and rapists into the USA, and called for building a wall along the border, which he said Mexico would pay for. Additionally, illegals who steal documents and social security numbers could face charges for identity fraud and document theft "to the extent practicable".
He also said the Justice Department plans to add 50 more immigration judges in 2017 and 75 more in 2018.
This is the first tour of the U.S. -Mexico border Sessions has made as the nation's top law enforcement officer. Immigration experts note that the surge in border crossings the US experienced in recent years came as a result of people, including hordes of unaccompanied minors, fleeing violence in their home countries.
Data from federal arrests, however, show an increasing emphasis on punishing those who break immigration laws well before the Trump election, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center published April 10.