Wednesday, April 12, 2017



Sessions outlines immigration enforcement priorities during visit to Nogales
By Kendal Blust
Nogales International 21 hrs ago (2)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced new criminal immigration enforcement guidelines at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales on Tuesday, April 11.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced new mandates for federal prosecutors as part of the Trump administration's crackdown on immigration enforcement and border security during a visit to Nogales Tuesday morning.

Speaking at the Mariposa Port of Entry after a brief tour of the border, Sessions outlined plans to amp up prosecutions and detentions for immigrants apprehended at the border.

The new guidelines, he said, reflect the administration's hardened stance against illegal immigration, drug smuggling and transnational gangs and cartels, as well as increased support for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, who he described as the frontline against "criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into war zones, that rape and kill innocent civilians and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders."

"It is here, on this sliver of land, on this border, where . . . we first take our stand," he continued, reading from a prepared statement.

Sessions said the new mandate requires federal prosecutors to focus on prosecuting those transporting and harboring undocumented immigrants; immigrants who unlawfully return to the United States after being deported, especially those with "certain aggravating circumstances," such as gang affiliations; and those in the country illegally who have committed document fraud or identity theft.

He said he will also require all 94 U.S. Attorney's Offices around the country to prioritize prosecution for assault on a federal law enforcement officer, and he also mandated that each office appoint a Border Security Coordinator by next Tuesday, April 18, to coordinate immigration enforcement for that district.

"For those that continue to seek improper and illegal entry into this country, be forewarned: 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."

In addition to the new guidelines for federal prosecutors, Sessions also reiterated his intention to have "all adults who are apprehended at the border" detained, and to place immigration judges in detention centers.

In addition to 25 judges already assigned to border detention centers, Sessions said 50 more will be added to the bench this year and 75 the following year under a "streamlined hiring plan."

Calling President Donald Trump's executive order on border security the "guidepost," Sessions said the new administration will prosecute immigration and drug smuggling offenses to "the full extent of the law."

Following the more than 10-minute news conference, Sessions fielded questions from reporters.

He did not directly respond to questions about the administration's stance on family separation or funding for the wall. He did, however, defend the wall as a deterrent to illegal re-entry, despite touting declining apprehensions in recent months as proof that the new administration's policies are working.

"This is no accident. This is what happens when you have a president who understands the threat, who is not afraid to publicly identify the threat and stand up to it, and who makes clear to law enforcement that the leadership of their country finally has their back, and tells the whole world that the illegality is over" he said. "So together we will further drastically reduce the danger posed by criminal aliens, gang members and cartel henchmen."

Sessions' tour of the border was part of a day-long trip to Arizona that also included stops in Litchfield Park, Ariz. and Luke Air Force Base Tuesday afternoon, where Sessions spoke to law enforcement and military personnel.


Grijalva, wildlife group file lawsuit over Trump's proposed border wall
The Associated Press Apr 12, 2017 Updated 51 min ago

Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star
A conservation group and U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva have filed what they say is the first federal lawsuit against the proposed border wall.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Tucson by Grijalva, D-Arizona, and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Wildlife conservationists say the wall would be detrimental to rare animals such as jaguars and ocelots that are known to traverse the international line.

The lawsuit seeks to require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to put together a report on construction of the wall and the environmental impact of expanded operations on the U.S.-Mexico border.

This includes environmental impact statements on the the wall itself, border road construction, off-road vehicle patrols, installation of high-intensity lighting, construction of base camps and checkpoints and other activities, according to a news release announcing the lawsuit.

President Donald Trump has promised to build the wall and make Mexico pay for it, though Mexico has refused.

"American environmental laws are some of the oldest and strongest in the world and they should apply to the borderlands just as they do everywhere else," said Grijalva, who expansive district includes about 300 miles of the border. "Trump's wall — and his fanatical approach to our southern border — will do little more than perpetuate human suffering while irrevocably damaging our public lands and the wildlife that depend on them."

The lawsuit names as defendants Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Kevin K. McAleenan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and the CBP.


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