Associated Press - Attorney General Jeff Sessions toured the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday and unveiled what he described as a new get-tough approach to immigration prosecutions under President Donald Trump.
The nation's top law enforcement official outlined a series of changes that he said mark the start of a new push to rid American cities and the border of what he described as "filth" brought on by drug cartels and criminal organizations.
The tour included visiting a port of entry, where Sessions exited an SUV in a white shirt and baseball cap before entering a restricted area.
Sessions has been steadily expanding the Justice Department's role in the anti-immigration agenda of the Trump administration, but the border trip offered the most comprehensive look yet at his plans.
During his visit, he urged federal prosecutors to intensify their focus on immigration crimes such as illegal border crossing or smuggling others into the U.S.
Such prosecutions are already happening on a large scale. They made up more than half of all federal prosecutions in fiscal year 2016, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. But prosecutions were slightly down from fiscal year 2015.
In a three-page memo, Sessions told U.S. attorneys to prioritize immigration prosecutions by appointing a border security coordinator who can oversee investigations, keep statistics and provide legal advice and training to prosecutors. The coordinators would meet regularly with federal immigration authorities.