These presidential actions expanded the Homeland Security Department's enforcement priorities on the border, including the mandatory detention of all people crossing the border illegally. Sessions said he will hire 125 new judges, 50 in 2017, and 75 in 2018 to hear immigration cases.
"It's telling that Mr. Sessions' trip to Arizona coincides with a big-money expo for companies looking to profit from dividing communities along the border".
One federal prosecutor who requested anonymity expressed alarm over the new directives, worrying that they will compel their office to put immigrant families in prison. Gregory Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association accused Mr Sessions of drawing false connections between illegal immigrants and violent crime. "The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws and the catch and release practices of the past are over".
He announced the changes at a news conference following a morning tour of the border that included visiting a port of entry, where he exited an SUV in a white shirt and baseball cap before entering a restricted area.
"They threaten the very integrity of our nations in our hemisphere", he said.
While not a drastic departure from previous efforts to combat illegal immigration and in keeping with other efforts made by this administration, former Obama Justice Department official Leon Fresco, now an immigration attorney, says that the execution will matter, especially if the guidelines from the Justice Department don't exempt legitimate asylum seekers from prosecution until their cases are decided.
Sessions also said he had directed all U.S. Attorneys offices to prioritize prosecution of assaults on federal law enforcement.
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.
"Pursuant to the President's executive order, we will now be detaining all adults who we apprehend at the border", Sessions said. Immigration experts note that the surge in border crossings the USA experienced in recent years came as a result of people, including hordes of unaccompanied minors, fleeing violence in their home countries.
His name is Jeff Sessions, and illegal immigrants had better beware. "It is here that criminal aliens and the coyotes and the document-forgers seek to overthrow our system of lawful immigration".
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers check a vehicle entering the United States from Mexico at the border crossing in San Ysidro, California, U.S. on October 14, 2016.
On April 11, Sessions delivered a speech before the border in Nogales, Arizona.
Sessions' plan for an increase in prosecution contrasts a study from the Pew Research Center released last month showing that immigration prosecutions already top the list of federal prosecutions, second only to drug-related offenses.