Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Department of Justice's renewed commitment to criminal immigration enforcement.
In remarks to Customs and Border Protection personnel in Nogales , Arizona on Tuesday morning. In his remarks , the Attorney General said that 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 to 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. Sessions also said that 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.
Sessions also announced that a series of reforms regarding immigration judges to reduce the significant backlog of cases in immigration courts. To support this , there have been 25 immigration judges assigned to detention centers along the border with 50 more immigration judges expected to be on the bench this year and 75 more next year. Two of the newest immigration judges are reported to be headed to Imperial County and are expected to begin hearing immigration cases this month.