Costly Immigration Enforcement Measures Send Message of Fear

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today that he submitted a memorandum to all federal prosecutors to require the prioritization of immigration offenses in order to criminalize these violations and implement stricter enforcement practices.

In response to the memorandum, the following is a statement from Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:

“Criminalizing immigration violations among individuals who are peaceably living in and contributing to our communities only will sow fear and chaos.

“Immigration enforcement should prioritize violent criminals and traffickers. Yet this new policy does just opposite by requiring federal prosecutors to prioritize immigration violations rather than violent criminals and threats to community safety.

“Already we are seeing the rate of crimes reported in cities across the U.S. fall because immigrants do not trust law enforcement. Today’s announcement further undermines local law enforcement’s mission to serve and protect the entirety of their communities.”

“Even before this announcement, the majority of federal prosecutions concerned immigration violations, more than prosecutions for drugs, weapons and fraud combined. These measures depart from our values as a country and do not adequately address the situation at our borders.

“These enforcement practices send a terrible message to immigrants throughout our nation. Law enforcement resources must be used in ways that target actual threats. There are better ways to ensure our safety.”

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