TUCSON – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) reacted to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ directive to federal prosecutors urging them to further prioritize immigration cases (which already comprise roughly 30 percent of all federal cases), and instructs them to look for opportunities to bring serious felony charges for anyone who crosses the border without documentation. Sessions outlined the policy changes in a three-page policy memo, and promoted it at a photo-op visit to the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona.
“A.G. Sessions’ announcement today 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,” Rep. Grijalva said. “Sessions isn’t just asking federal prosecutors to enforce the law – he’s asking them to actively seek opportunities to throw the book at immigrants, simply for being immigrants. But Sessions doesn’t use that term – his announcement speech is littered with the term alien because it further erodes the humanity of people coming to the United States.
“Sessions’ actions are appalling, but they are also predictable for a man who has seethed intolerance for his entire public career. As a senator, Sessions didn’t just decline to support comprehensive immigration reform – he actively worked against it. Since arriving at the Justice Department, he has threatened to strip funding from cities that don’t subscribe to his intolerance and implemented deportation raids all across the country.
“Immigrants and other vulnerable groups were always going to face the most hardship from having a white supremacist like Sessions leading DOJ. But the truth is, the more Sessions and Trump lead us down this rabbit hole of targeting non-threatening immigrants, the more unprepared we are to address real threats as they arise. Law enforcement is not a zero sum game – mandating federal prosecutors to focus on immigrants instead of focusing on crime means valuable resources will be tied up achieving political goals instead of keeping Americans safe. All the while, the human impact of families split apart and efforts to criminalize innocent people continue to erode our moral character as a nation. The Trump Administration isn’t making America great again – it’s retreading a sad history of blaming immigrants and minorities for society’s woes.”