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Sessions Targets Mexican Cartel Activity on Border

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced tougher prosecutorial standards for people caught crossing the border illegally during a tour in southern Arizona Tuesday. He emphasized prosecuting cartel and gang connected drug and human smugglers as well as repeat crossers.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions tours the Nogales port of entry with Director Efrain Solis, Jr. Photo: Department of Justice

“The catch and release practices of old are over,” Sessions told a group of U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel gathered in Nogales, Arizona. He assured these people tasked with enforcing the borders of the United States that the Department of Justice will have their backs, Breitbart News reported.

Sessions announced he released a memorandum for federal prosecutors ordering increased prosecutions of people who cross the border illegally, or those who are engaged in human smuggling. Acknowledging the decrease in border crossings since President Donald Trump took office in January, Sessions wrote that the DOJ must do its part in enforcing the law. “While dramatic progress has been made in recent months, much remains to be done,” the AG wrote. “It is critical that our work focus on criminal cases that will further reduce illegality.”

The DOJ tweeted some of Sessions remarks from the border.

Speaking to the CBP officers and Border Patrol agents, the AG said, “I am here to tell you, the brave men and women of Customs and Border Protection: we hear you and we have your back.”

“Together, we will drastically reduce the danger posed by criminal aliens, gang members, and cartel henchmen,” Sessions stated.

In a memorandum reported by KTAR news, Session stated, “As we speak, I am issuing a document to all federal prosecutors that mandates the prioritization of such enforcement.”

The memorandum calls for:

  • Prosecution for any case involving the transportation, or harboring of illegal aliens with prioritization of cases involving the smuggling or harboring of three or more aliens. Aggravating circumstances would also be considered for prioritization including cases where aliens receive serious bodily injury, physical or sexual assault, or the death of any person.
  • Felony prosecution for any defendant with two or more prior misdemeanor improper entry convictions, or one or more convictions with aggravating circumstances including prior felony criminal convictions; gang membership or affiliation; multiple prior voluntary returns; and prior removal, deportation, or exclusion.
  • Prosecution for previously deported criminal aliens with convictions of aggravated felonies, or prior criminal history indicating a danger to public safety. This category also includes prosecuting re-entrants with one or more administrative or criminal immigration violations, gang membership or affiliation or other aggravating circumstances.
  • Prosecution to the extent practicable cases of assault, resisting, or impeding officers engaged in the performance of their duties in administrative and criminal immigration enforcement.

Session also announced the creation of a Border Security Coordinator responsible for:

  • Overseeing the investigation and prosecution of the offenses listed above;
  • Attending training programs with other Coordinators regarding these offenses;
  • Providing legal advice and training to Assistant U.S. Attorneys on prosecuting these cases; and
  • Maintaining and reporting prosecution statistics related to the above listed offenses.

Sessions said the goal of these initiatives is to deter first-time improper entrants.

“For those that continue to seek improper and illegal entry into this country, be forewarned: This is a new era. This is the Trump era,” Sessions concluded.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

DOJ Memo on Renewed Commitment to Criminal Immigration Enforcement


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