Speaking to Customs and Border Protection personnel at the United States-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona, on April 11th, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said: “I am pleased to stand here with you and announce new guidance regarding our commitment to criminal immigration enforcement. As we speak, I am issuing a document to all federal prosecutors that mandates the prioritization of such enforcement.”
In his remarks, the Attorney General announced that he has issued a memo to United States Attorneys that mandates the prioritization of criminal immigration enforcement. The memo directs federal prosecutors to focus on particular offenses that, if aggressively charged and prosecuted, can help prevent and deter illegal immigration.
Additionally, the Attorney General revealed that the Department of Justice will add 50 more immigration judges to the bench this year and 75 next year. He also highlighted the Department's plan to streamline its hiring of judges, reflecting the dire need to reduce the backlogs in our immigration courts.
The Attorney General announced that federal prosecutors are now required to consider for prosecution the transportation or harboring of aliens, and 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. 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,” said Attorney General Sessions, “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.”
“Why are we doing this?” said the Attorney General. “Because it is what the duly enacted laws of the United States require.’