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. Sessions also instructed the Justice Department to pursue felony charges when applicable for immigrants who try to enter the USA illegally on multiple occasions. "To support this mission, we have already surged 25 immigration judges to detention centers along the border".
Sessions said he hopes to streamline hiring to get 50 judges in place this year and an additional 75 in place next year. But Trump, Sessions, and other immigration hardliners have often pointed to particularly gruesome and horrific incidents of undocumented crime to make their case and trotted out family members of victims at events. "It is a direct threat to our legal system and to our peace and prosperity".
"Where an alien has entered the country - which is a misdemeanor - that alien will now be charged with a felony if they unlawfully enter, or attempt to enter a second time, and certain aggravating circumstances are present", Sessions said.
Under the new measures, all adults apprehended at the border will be detained.
He called Sessions' actions "appalling, but they are also predictable for a man who has seethed intolerance for his entire public career". The attorney general laid out his plans for a crack-down on illegal immigration, telling agents that the Trump administration marks "a new era" in immigration reform. "Sessions isn't just asking federal prosecutors to enforce the law - he's asking them to actively seek opportunities to throw the book at immigrants, simply for being immigrants".
US attorney's offices will also crack down on individuals who illegally re-enter the USA without authorization.
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The media went into a tizzy over a speech Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave to border patrol agents on Tuesday.
Sessions' directive did not go beyond existing laws, but he said his order "mandates the prioritizations of such enforcement" by US attorneys. When possible in these cases, attorneys must pursue charges for document fraud and aggravated identity theft, with a two-year mandatory minimum sentence for the latter.
His directives already exist under US law, the order only "mandates" USA attorneys to make such enforcement a priority. People who are caught by agents, or those who surrender at the border, are subject to deportation unless they can establish grounds for asylum.
Aside from outlining new policy, Sessions didn't miss the opportunity to rehash the tenuous link between violent crime and undocumented immigration.
Following the border tour, Sessions will deliver a keynote speech at an International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Litchfield Park, Arizona.
When Sessions was a USA senator, he frequently charged that the federal government was not doing enough to address illegal immigration.