Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with a coalition of sheriffs from border states in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on April 11th to deliver a set of highly politicized remarks that illustrated the Trump administration’s hardline, fear-based approach to illegal immigration. Sessions wasted no time in portraying the immigration situation as a black and white, us versus them issue. He thanked the sheriffs present for acting as “the thin blue line that stands between law-abiding people and criminals”, and praised them for protecting the country “from drugs and violence”.
The attorney general appeared to echo remarks made by President Trump on the campaign trail regarding immigrants from Mexico by describing the types of people who come across the border as drug traffickers, gang members, and “other criminals who bring drugs, guns, and gang violence into our communities.” He also made the claim that most of the drugs currently in the U.S., specifically heroin, cocaine, meth, and fentanyl, come from over the border. This is false, as the majority of these drugs are actually smuggled in through ports of entry, which a border wall would not fix. For more on Sessions’ attempts to blame the drug crisis on illegal immigrants, click here.
Attorney General Sessions also used the speech as an opportunity to promote one of the administration’s most controversial and as yet unrealized promises, the border wall. Sessions blamed Congress for failing to take action on the wall and for providing illegal immigrants with an open invitation to cross the border. He criticized the Obama administration for allowing immigrants to exploit the “credible fear” policy, which allows immigrants to remain in the country legally if they can prove that they were endangered in their home countries. The Trump administration, with Sessions at the helm, is already doing everything in their power to limit the number of asylum seekers allowed to remain in the country. One strategy, which the attorney general mentioned briefly in his speech, is to put quotas on federal immigration judges to complete a certain number of immigration cases a year. For more on Sessions’ attempts to expel illegal immigrants, click here.
To read Sessions’ full speech, click here.
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