The Department of Justice intends to completely halt illegal immigration into the United States, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a Minneapolis meeting of the National District Attorneys Association.
“Our goal is not to reduce illegal immigration — but to end illegal immigration,” he told the July 17 gathering. “We are already seeing positive results with illegal border crossings in March hitting the lowest monthly figure in 17 years.” He continued:
In just 5 states over three days, ICE arrested 86 nationals. Sixty-two had criminal convictions and 23 had been previously deported. Seven were fugitives with outstanding final orders of removal. One U.S. Attorney in an average non-border state, told me they had presented 300 illegal reentry cases last year.
In 2016, roughly 500,000 illegals entered the United States. Roughly half of them illegally crossed the U.S. borders, and roughly half overstayed their legal visas for tourism, temporary work or business trips.
The Trump administration’s ongoing record on immigration has both pleased and angered Trump’s base.
Since January, federal immigration officers have pushed border-crossing by illegal aliens to a 17-year low and sharply increased arrests of illegal immigrants. In fact, arrests have doubled in San Diego and other places. Moreover, illegal immigrants are increasingly resorting to “self-deportation” to avoid heightened immigration enforcement.
Also, the pending 2018’s fiscal year budget includes $1.6 billion for a border wall.
Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security has laid out plans to deploy computer systems in airports by 2018 that will keep track of visa over stayers. A DHS report shows that 304,000 foreigners overstayed their 2015 visas into January of 2017. Around 40 percent of the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States acquired their status as a result of visa overstays.
Despite such steps, advocates for conservative immigration reform expressed concern over other immigration policies, such as the DHS’ expansion of the controversial H-2B visa program.
While calling for a “lawful” immigration system, Jeff Sessions’ remarks included no mention of curtailing or reforming legal immigration, despite efforts in the administration and the Senate to cut annual legal immigration caps from 1 million to 500,000 entrants.
Also, Sessions did not say the agency’s goal is to repatriate the entire population of roughly 11 million illegals now residing in the United States.