Sessions Gives Federal Prosecutors Marching Orders on Border Security

During his trip to the southern border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it clear that he will carry out the mandate he was given by President Donald Trump: to vigorously enforce our immigration laws, and go after the human smugglers and traffickers who work for the Mexican cartels that have caused many of our border security problems.

In his April 11 speech to Customs and Border Protection agents in Nogales, Arizona, Sessions bluntly stated his intent to go after the “transnational gangs like MS-13 and international cartels” that are flooding “our country with drugs” and “leave death and violence in their wake.” According to Sessions, it is “criminal aliens and the coyotes and the document-forgers” who want to “overthrow our system of lawful immigration”:

[They] turn cities and suburbs into war zones, 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.

[It is on the border,] on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.

These are strong words, indeed -- words that certainly had never been spoken by the two attorneys general who served in the prior administration.

Sessions also announced that he was sending a memorandum to all federal prosecutors directing them to make prosecution of certain immigration offenses a higher priority. As Sessions said -- in what seems common sense to most Americans -- “consistent and vigorous enforcement … will disrupt” these organizations and “deter unlawful conduct.”

Among the enforcement priorities listed by Sessions were the following:

  • Prosecuting those who bring in and harbor aliens, who aid or assist criminal aliens to enter, and who bring in aliens for “immoral purposes” (sex traffickers). Priority will be given to those who bring in three or more illegal aliens or where there are aggravating circumstances, such as serious bodily injury, physical or sexual assault, or death.

  • 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. Also targeted for felony prosecutions: anyone who knowingly enters into a sham marriage to evade immigration laws.

  • Going after illegal aliens who engage in identity theft or immigration-related fraud with felony prosecutions.

  • Prosecuting illegal aliens who assault, resist or otherwise impede immigration officers and agents.

Sessions directed each of the 94 offices of U.S. Attorneys to appoint a “Border Security Coordinator” by April 18. The coordinators will oversee the immigration enforcement program of each office, coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies, and report the “prosecution statistics related to these offenses.” This latter requirement is obviously an attempt to force transparency on the offices and to provide a measuring stick to gauge how well the attorneys are actually carrying out the attorney general’s directive.