U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks April 11, 2017, at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Division Midyear Conference at the Wigwam, 300 E. Wigwam Blvd., in Litchfield Park. Mark Henle/azcentral.com
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced a get-tough approach to immigration prosecutions during a tour of the U.S.-Mexico border. (April 11)
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The Republic’s Rafael Carranza talks with KJZZ’s Michel Marizco about U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tour of the Arizona border and his announcement about stricter guidelines on prosecuting immigration cases.
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions talks about Trump administration policies
Sessions outlines border enforcement plan
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Nogales to talk illegal immigration
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the power of the U.S. military in a room full of airmen and women, telling them an increase in defense spending was one of the Trump administration’s priorities.
“I can say with total certainty that there’s no military in the history of the world that’s more mobile, agile and hostile than the American military,” Sessions said at Luke Air Force Base on Tuesday.
It was Sessions’ third and final speech of the day in Arizona, where he previously discussed immigration issues at the Nogales, Arizona, border gate and addressed rising crime with U.S. police chiefs at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park.
At Luke, the attorney general discussed laws protecting military personnel but primarily touched on other subjects in the roughly 10-minute address.
Bigger military budget
Sessions said he believed Congress would support President Donald Trump’s recent budget proposal, which seeks to raise the military budget by $54 billion — a 10 percent increase — at the cost of most other government programs.
“This is a priority — a commitment that (Trump) has made, and I think that Congress has made, and so I look forward to the future in which we don’t have a dime to waste — not a single dime.”
Sessions said the defense increase wasn’t a jobs program, but a commitment to “protect and preserve” the U.S. military’s standing in the world.
Protecting the border
Sessions also echoed comments about immigration he made earlier in the day.
“I think (the American people) are correct, I think President Trump is correct that we need to maintain a lawful system of immigration — one that serves the national interest, protects us from criminal elements and drug dealers and child molesters and whoever else might be a part of that — including terrorists,” Sessions said. “We need — as part of our national security, our national sovereignty — a system that we can be proud of.”
Sessions said the U.S. had fallen behind in deporting criminals and that the Justice Department, along with the Department of Homeland Security, was working to increase the number of criminals deported.
Opposition to marijuana
Sessions first brought up Gov. Doug Ducey’s recent visit to the White House, where they discussed, among other things, marijuana. Sessions repeated his opposition to the sale of marijuana and joked about the attention it garnered.
“When they nominated me for attorney general, you would have thought the biggest issue in America was when I said, ‘I don’t think America’s going to be a better place if they sell marijuana at every corner grocery store,’ ” Sessions said. “(People) didn’t like that; I’m surprised they didn’t like that.”
Sessions then thanked Ducey for discussing the issue with him when many others refused.
“It really surprised me how many people are hiding under the table whenever the issue is discussed, but Governor, thank you for your gumption.”
Protecting service members, veterans
Sessions highlighted the U.S. Department of of Justice’s “Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative,” which primarily enforces three federal laws:
- The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which protects service members from lease-breaking consequences when called to active duty.
- The Uniformed Services Employment Rights Act, which protects service members past and present from discrimination when applying for jobs.
- The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, which ensures service members can vote in U.S. elections no matter where they are stationed.
The initiative’s website explains the three laws in further detail, and allows service members to file a complaint to the Justice Department should they think someone broke these laws.
Capt. Rebecca Heyse, a public-affairs officer at Luke, said the base rarely encounters issues with the latter two laws but regularly hears about Servicemembers Civil Relief Act violations. Heyse said some landlords and car lessors aren’t aware the act exists and that a phone call or letter from Luke’s attorneys usually resolves the issue.
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