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April 11, 2017

AG Sesssions issues memo to federal prosecutors that "mandates the prioritization of criminal immigration enforcement"

As reported in this press release from the US Justice Department, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions today spoke to Customs and Border Protection personnel at the United States-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona," and in his remarks the AG "announced that he has issued [this] attached memo to United States Attorneys that mandates the prioritization of criminal immigration enforcement."  Here is more from the press release and the speech it references:

The memo directs federal prosecutors to focus on particular offenses that, if aggressively charged and prosecuted, can help prevent and deter illegal immigration.  Additionally, the Attorney General revealed that the Department of Justice will add 50 more immigration judges to the bench this year and 75 next year. He also highlighted the Department's plan to streamline its hiring of judges, reflecting the dire need to reduce the backlogs in our immigration courts....

[From the AG's speech:]

[T]oday, I am pleased to stand here with you and announce new guidance regarding our commitment to criminal immigration enforcement.  As we speak, I am issuing a document to all federal prosecutors that mandates the prioritization of such enforcement.

Starting today, federal prosecutors are now required to consider for prosecution all of the following offenses:

  • The transportation or harboring of aliens. As you know too well, this is a booming business down here.  No more.  We are going to shut down and jail those who have been profiting off this lawlessness — people smuggling gang members across the border, helping convicted criminals re-enter this country and preying on those who don’t know how dangerous the journey can be.

  • Further, where an alien has unlawfully entered the country, which is a misdemeanor, that alien will now be charged with a felony if they unlawfully enter or attempt enter a second time and certain aggravating circumstances are present.

  • Also, aliens that illegally re-enter the country after prior removal will be referred for felony prosecution — and a priority will be given to such offenses, especially where indicators of gang affiliation, a risk to public safety or criminal history are present.

  • Fourth: where possible, prosecutors are directed to charge criminal aliens with document fraud and aggravated identity theft — the latter carrying a two-year mandatory minimum sentence.

  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly: I have directed that all 94 U.S. Attorneys Offices make the prosecution of assault on a federal law enforcement officer — that’s all of you — a top priority. If someone dares to assault one of our folks in the line of duty, they will do federal time for it.

To ensure that these priorities are implemented, starting today, each U.S. Attorney’s Office, whether on the border or interior, will designate an Assistant United States Attorney as the Border Security Coordinator for their District.  It will be this experienced prosecutor’s job to coordinate the criminal immigration enforcement response for their respective offices.

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.  The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws and the catch and release practices of old are over.

April 11, 2017 at 05:38 PM | Permalink


What prosecutor's office does not already prioritize cases of assault on an law enforcement officer? (Especially as the cops are going to be very eager to invest resources into investigating such cases.)

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Apr 11, 2017 5:55:06 PM

Just what the doctor ordered: more incarceration for more people. Perfect.

Posted by: David from Texas | Apr 11, 2017 6:00:52 PM

Soronel is correct. As if the U.S. Attorneys don't already prioritize cases of assault on federal officers. Quickest ticket to the federal pen there is. A.G. Sessions, so far, nothing but bluster.

Posted by: James | Apr 11, 2017 6:05:00 PM

Spot on, I concur with all if you.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Apr 11, 2017 9:39:08 PM

The identity theft stuff is really good---imagine having your tax refund intercepted because some alien used your SSN?

IMHO, illegal aliens don't have the Sixth Amendment right to paid for counsel.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 12, 2017 8:53:33 AM

Fed. There are millions of identity thefts, not being counted by pro-criminal lawyers in their argument that crime is decreasing, and that prisons may now be emptied. The average bank robbery nets $4000, the average id theft, $5000.

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 12, 2017 9:51:29 AM


The federal crime of aggravated identity theft is defined extremely broadly and often involves conduct that doesn't involve the "victim" being harmed financially or indeed even being aware that their identity had been "stolen." It also carries a two-year mandatory minimum sentence.

Here, what I think Sessions is urging is charging people with agg. ID theft who attempt to cross the border using a fake document, or folks who are already here who use a fake ID to get a job, etc. People who were using grandma's social security number to open fraudulent credit card accounts were already getting charged.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 12, 2017 12:34:30 PM

I think it's using identifying info of others in order to apply for jobs, pay taxes, etc. In other words, so they won't get paid under the table. Federal law almost certainly covers that, but it's rarely prosecuted in cases like this.

Posted by: Erik M | Apr 12, 2017 2:33:12 PM

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