Sessions: 'Trump era' on border to bring tougher immigration enforcement

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From Facebook LIVE: The Arizona Republic's Rafael Carranza and Fronteras Desk Senior Editor Michel Marizco discuss U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' widened criminal immigration enforcement measures in Nogales.

Mr Session's plan is reinforced by the Justice Department's latest budget proposal, which would direct hundreds of millions of dollars to hiring new Border Patrol agents, federal prosecutors, and deputy US Marshals, while cutting the department's overall budget by more than $1 billion.

To streamline the backlogs in immigration courts, Sessions said 50 immigration judges would be added this year with 75 more in 2018.

Former prosecutors said they didn't expect the memo to dramatically affect USA attorneys offices along the southern border, which already bring thousands of such cases each year.

States near the border, and others in Appalachia and the North East have seen a rapid increase in overdose deaths from fentanyl in the past couple years, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention-the leading US national public health institute. "Do not come. If you do come, you will be apprehended and deported promptly", Sessions said. He toured the border and called for a series of changes that he said will mark the beginning of an era to free American cities and the border of "filth" brought by drug cartels and criminal organizations, reports said.

In remarks Tuesday to Border Patrol agents at the US-Mexico Border in Nogales, Ariz., Mr. Sessions spoke in stark terms about the threat he said illegal immigration posed. "They will not be released", Sessions said. People who are caught by agents, or those who surrender at the border, are subject to deportation unless they can establish grounds for asylum.

"The Department of Justice, we will not allow the misdeeds of a few bad actors to impugn or undermine the legitimate work of law enforcement", he said.

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Prosecutors are now directed to charge criminal aliens with document fraud and aggravated identify theft which carries a two-year mandatory minimum federal sentence.

The Trump administration has threatened to cut off U.S. Justice Department grants to so-called sanctuary cities that fail to assist federal immigration authorities. Assaulting a federal law enforcement officer, using false documents and harboring or transporting undocumented people will also result in harsher penalties, Sessions said.

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.

Reaction to Sessions' reforms was swift from immigrant rights advocacy groups.

A memorandum made public Tuesday morning orders each of the five federal Southwest border districts - spanning California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas - to appoint a "border security coordinator" to oversee "the investigation and prosecution" of migrants under the new policy.

Politico reporter Josh Dawsey took a partial quote from a Wall Street Journal story on Sessions' speech out of context, tweeting that Sessions described illegal immigrants as filth.