Attorney General Jeff Sessions to visit Arizona, tour US-Mexico border
PHOENIX — Attorney General Jeff Sessions will visit Arizona to tour the U.S.-Mexico border next Tuesday, according to a press release.
Sessions is scheduled to visit the Port of Nogales at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, before speaking at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Division Midyear Conference in Litchfield Park at 1 p.m.
After that, Sessions will be speaking to service members at Luke Air Force Base at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, the press release said.
Tuesday’s visit will be Session’s first time touring the Mexico border since he was confirmed as attorney general in February.
The Alabama senator has been a strong advocate for overhauling immigration laws.
In a February speech to the National Association of Attorneys General, Sessions said he believes “there is nothing wrong, legally, morally or intellectually, with a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest. What’s wrong with that?”
“People who come here unlawfully, who commit crimes, are going to be out of here,” Sessions said in his speech. “The law says that they have to be deported and we’re going to insist that that happens.”
According to the Washington Post, Sessions has “taken steps to increase his department’s focus on immigration” by supporting the practice of arresting undocumented immigrants at courthouses, expanding a program to deport criminal undocumented immigrants following their prison sentences and threatening sanctuary cities with the withdrawal of federal funds.
The U.S.-Mexico border has been a hot topic during President Donald Trump’s administration so far, after he signed an executive order in January ordering construction of a border wall.
Plans for the wall were advanced shortly after, when Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly signed two directives relating to immigration calling on Customs and Border Protection to “immediately begin planning, design, construction and maintenance of a wall.”
Kelly has already visited Arizona in February, where he met with state Gov. Doug Ducey and toured the border in Nogales.
The plans for the U.S.-Mexico border wall took off recently after various companies submitted proposals to the government. A Scottsdale-based company said its border wall would be immune to both tampering and attacks.
The wall has gained support from a handful of Arizona lawmakers. Gov. Doug Ducey said in January that he approves of the wall “as long as it benefits Arizona” and former Gov. Jan Brewer said she hopes the wall can be completed during Trump’s first term.
But not everyone is on board with the idea of a border wall.
According to a recent Associated Press poll, a majority of taxpayers are not on board for funding the wall, which is estimated to cost $21.6 billion and take more than three years to build. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in January that Congress would enact legislation this year to pay up to $15 billion to construct the wall.
In February, the mayor of Douglas, Arizona — a town that sits on the Mexican border — called the wall a waste of money. Legal experts also predict a spike in lawsuits following the wall’s construction.
But lawmakers describe the wall as necessary to deter illegal immigration, calling it a “critical component” of Trump’s overall border security strategy.