Jeff Sessions changes prepared speech to not call criminal illegal immigrants 'filth'

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

It is not uncommon for Sessions to go off-script when delivering remarks.

"I think there's no doubt that the barrier, the wall, will have a great and positive impact", Sessions said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is urging prosecutors to crack down on immigration enforcement to stop gangs and cartels from turning US cities into "war zones", and he promised Customs and Border Protection agents more support for their efforts to combat illegal immigration.

Now he's getting his chance and is shaping the Department of Justice's mission to expand its emphasis on prosecuting undocumented immigrants.

Sessions also said he had directed all U.S. Attorneys offices to prioritize prosecution of assaults on federal law enforcement.

A memo Sessions issued Tuesday calls for federal attorneys to consider prosecution of anyone who harbors undocumented immigrants, with a priority given to violent cases or those that involve transporting or shielding three or more undocumented immigrants.

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Arizona, said in a written statement that Sessions' announcement "continues the intentional and systematic effort by this administration to criminalize immigrants, painting entire communities as guilty until proven innocent for actions that aren't even crimes".

Advocates for stricter immigration enforcement praised Sessions' new directives as a potentially effective way to curb illegal immigration.

Sessions answered just a few questions from reporters after he discussed about tougher approaches to handle undocumented immigrants at the border.

The Tucson sector, once the top gateway for crossings that includes Nogales and most of the Arizona border, saw 65,000 arrests past year - about half of the arrests made in 2012.

In addition, marijuana seizures have also fallen.

Sessions was also set to speak with service members at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix.

In March, Sessions said that the Justice Department will expand an existing program aimed at holding deportation hearings for immigrants while they are still in federal prison known as the Institutional Hearing Program.

Sessions told the CBP staff that to ensure that these priorities are implemented, effective April 11, each U.S. Attorney's Office (whether on the border or interior) will designate an assistant U.S. attorney as the border security coordinator for their district.

Sessions plans to add 50 more judges to the bench this year and 75 next year.

Illegal entry into the United States can be charged as either a misdemeanor, or felony.

He said his plan includes holding adults caught crossing the border illegally and adding dozens of judges to the nation's immigration courts to handle an expected expansion of the caseload.

  • Larry Hoffman