The Trump administration on Tuesday announced new measures it will be taking against illegal immigrants — making good on promises by both the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In a memo issued simultaneously as he was giving remarks from the U.S.-Mexico border at Nogales, Ariz., Sessions directed federal prosecutors to up charges brought against illegal immigrants. This would include more heavily prosecuting anyone harboring an illegal immigrant, with a priority given to violent cases or those involving transporting or shielding three or more illegal individuals.
DOJ attorneys have also been directed to consider felony prosecutions against persons in fraudulent marriages to obtain legal immigration status, as well as those who have tried to enter the United States illegally on multiple occasions.
Border districts should also prepare a new set of guidelines when it comes to prosecuting first-time border crossers that could lead to future felonies, the memo instructs.
The new measures come as Sessions spoke after meeting with Customs and Border Protection personnel, praising them and their fight against "criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent citizens and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders."
Sessions also announced there would soon be a boost of new immigration judges: 50 appointees this year and 75 next year. Relieving the backlog in the immigration courts is expected to get support from bipartisan lawmakers, as well as advocates and hardline immigrations supporters alike.
Sessions recently requested and received resignations from all U.S. attorneys nationwide, which allows for President Trump to pick who will fill the vacancies.
Sessions said Tuesday new hiring plan of judges "requires just as much vetting as before, but reduces the timeline, reflecting the dire need to reduce the backlogs in our immigration courts."