Sessions Visits U.S.-Mexican Border, Says Abdication of Duty to Enforce Immigration Laws Is Over
While touring the U.S.-Mexican border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions read from prepared statements on Nogales, Arizona, saying, the abdication of the duty to enforce immigration laws had come to an end.
“This is a new era. This is the Trump era,” he said. “The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws, and the catch and release practices of old are over.”
These comments were a direct swipe at the Obama administration, whose policies have been criticized by many as favorable to those in this country illegally.
Sessions outlined a series of changes marking the start of a new era to rid American cities and the border of what he described as “filth” brought on by drug cartels and criminal organizations and stressed enforcement as he met border agents and toured the area known as the Tuscon Sector.
He praised Trump’s strong stance on enforcement of existing immigration policy for the steep drop-off in border apprehensions this year and reaffirmed the administrations commitment to brining felony prosecutions against immigrants entering the country illegally.
The attorney general’s speech offered the most comprehensive look yet at his plans for federal prosecutions of those in the country illegally. Among other things, Sessions has commanded his team of federal prosecutors to prioritize immigration-related cases, targeting people those who cross the border illegally as well as those return after deportation.
Naturally critics blasted Sessions comments, accusing him of fear-mongering. Gregory Z. Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association said,
Once again, Attorney General Sessions is scaring the public by linking immigrants to criminals despite studies showing that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than the native born. He and President Trump are wasting more federal taxpayer dollars going after illegal border crossers instead of protecting the American public.”
However, Sessions comments were not made about immigrants in general, but both those who are entering the nation illegal, and those who are members of gangs and drug cartels the plague the region.
Sessions encouraged local law enforcement, members of the military and border agents remain confident in the administration. He reiterated that they could count on the full support of the Trump administration in their enforcement of immigration law and protection of the border.
“… It is here on this very sliver of land—on this border—that we take our stand. It is a direct threat to our legal system, peace and prosperity.”
“We hear you, and we have your back.”“We will secure this border and bring the full weight of both the immigration courts and federal criminal enforcement to combat this attack on our national security and sovereignty.”
He went on to add that the prosecution of assault on a federal law enforcement officer would be a “top priority” for U.S. attorneys.
“If someone dares to assault one of our folks in the line of duty, they will do federal time for it,” Sessions said.
Sessions comments made it clear that law and order along the border will be a key focus of the Trump administration.