Attorney General Jeff Sessions called Tuesday for a new focus on immigration enforcement during his first visit as the nation’s top law enforcement officer to the U.S.-Mexico border, vowing to confront the gangs and cartels plaguing the region and declaring: “This is a new era, this is the Trump era.”
Sessions met with law enforcement, members of the military and border agents in Nogales, Ariz., urging their confidence in the administration as they push to implement policies boosting agents working to secure the southern border. The tone of his comments at times echoed the explicit rhetoric President Trump himself used when discussing illegal immigration and cartels during the campaign.
“When we talk about MS-13 and the cartels, what do we mean? We mean international criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent civilians, and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders,” Sessions said.
“… 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,” he said.
Timed with his visit, Sessions issued a memo to all U.S. attorneys asking federal prosecutors to renew focus on immigration enforcement. He asked them to focus on particular offenses that can help prevent and deter illegal immigration – and to each, designate a border security coordinator to oversee such efforts.
Sessions’ visit comes amid new questions over the future of Trump’s promised border wall. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has suggested the wall is not a “leading priority,” and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told lawmakers last week that the administration would not build a wall from “sea to shining sea.” …