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Attorney General Jeff Sessions Delivers Remarks Before Media Availability in El Paso, Texas


El Paso, TX
United States

It is a high honor to be here with a man of such integrity, fortitude and leadership; Secretary John Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), thank you, Sir for the invitation to join you here in El Paso.

To the brave men and women who secure this border, you have both my sincere thanks and admiration. It is your service that not only protects our country, but establishes our sovereignty.

As I learned first-hand last week in Nogales, it is here, on this sliver of land where we establish a beachhead against the cartels, the transnational street gangs like Mara Salvatrucha 13, and the human traffickers. This is ground zero – this is the front lines, and this is where we take our stand.

Through the strong leadership of President Trump and Secretary Kelly, we have already made incredible progress and have seen the lowest number of border crossings in at least 17 years. For those that still seek to violate our laws and enter the country illegally, let me be very clear: Don’t come, when you are caught, you will be detained, adjudicated and deported.

For those that have committed crimes, are gang affiliated, or previously attempted entry, you will be prosecuted, imprisoned and then deported. It is that simple. We have a lawful system of immigration you should do what over 1 million other immigrants do each year, wait your turn and come lawfully.

In partnership with DHS and pursuant to the President’s Executive Orders, we at the Department of Justice have recently taken decisive action in this arena:

  • With the end of the lawlessness of catch and release, we have surged immigration judges to the border to adjudicate detained illegal aliens;
  • I have charged each of the 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices to make criminal immigration enforcement a priority and provided specific guidance how these offenses are to be adjudicated;
  • As of Tuesday, each U.S. Attorney’s Office now has a border security coordinator who will be personally responsible for overseeing these criminal enforcement efforts and will be reporting back on their progress;
  • In addition, we have now streamlined the immigration judge hiring process and to deal with the large backlog of immigration cases from the prior Administration, we will be bringing an additional 50 immigration judges online this year and 75 more next year – we will attack this backlog and see these cases adjudicated.

We will maintain our borders, we will enforce Congress’ duly enacted laws, and we will protect our communities from the scourge of cartels and gangs. These are not merely aspirational words, but these are bedrock principals of sovereignty.

I once again want to thank the brave men and women of federal, state and local law enforcement who sacrifice so much for the benefit of all. I want to be very clear: we have your back and you have our thanks.

Secretary Kelly, Thank you, Sir. ​​​​​​​

Updated April 20, 2017