ASSOCIATED PRESS – Attorney General Jeff Sessions toured the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona on Tuesday and unveiled what he described as a new get-tough approach to immigration prosecutions under President Donald Trump.
The nation’s top law enforcement official outlined a series of changes that he said mark the start of a new push to rid American cities and the border of what he described as “filth” brought on by drug cartels and criminal organizations.
The tour included visiting a port of entry, where Sessions exited an SUV in a white shirt and baseball cap before entering a restricted area.
During his visit, Sessions urged federal prosecutors to intensify their focus on immigration crimes such as illegal border crossing or smuggling others into the U.S.
In a three-page memo, Sessions told U.S. attorneys to prioritize immigration prosecutions by appointing a border security coordinator who can oversee investigations, keep statistics and provide legal advice and training to prosecutors. The coordinators would meet regularly with federal immigration authorities.
In addition, Sessions said federal prosecutors must consider bringing felony charges against those who have illegally entered the country more than once as well as those who marry to evade immigration laws. He also urged prosecutors to consider charging those illegally in the country with felony identity theft and document fraud.
“This is a new era. This is the Trump era,” he said. “The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws, and the catch and release practices of old are over.”
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