Sessions said federal prosecutors should consider felony prosecutions for immigrants who enter the country illegally and have two or more previous illegal entry convictions.
That era brings with it new guidelines for federal prosecutors that include harsher punishments for human smugglers and people who repeatedly cross the border illegally, Sessions said at the Mariposa Port of Entry, where billions of dollars in produce and industrial items cross the border every year and authorities sometimes find semi-tractor trailers hauling thousands of pounds of marijuana.
"The catch and release policies of the past are over", Sessions said during a visit with Customs and Border Patrol agents on Tuesday referencing the decades old practice of repatriating detained undocumented immigrants rather than charging them with a crime.
"As the Attorney General said in his statement, we must take a stand against filth like MS-13 and the cartels that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent people, and that profit by trafficking in drugs and people". He added, according to reports, "It is here on this very sliver of land-on this border-that we take our stand". Sessions' new directives mean that federal prosecutors will be compelled to make immigration offenses the bulk of their prosecution priorities, which has critics concerned about other crimes receiving minimal attention.
Sessions stated that in accordance with keeping the numbers illegal immigrants coming into the U.S down, the department will be adding 50 immigration judges this year alone and another 75 in 2018.
"The battle is far from over".
"We are going to shut down and jail those who have been profiting off this lawlessness - people smuggling gang members across the border, helping convicted criminals re-enter this country and preying on those who don't know how unsafe the journey can be", Sessions specified.
Trump's presidency already, he said, has reduced illegal border crossings substantially.More news: US Treasury's Mnuchin says will unveil tax reform plan 'very soon'
On Tuesday, Sessions issued a memo calling on federal attorneys to ramp up the prosecution of undocumented immigrants (or "aliens", as he calls them in the memo) for identity fraud, document theft, and fraudulent marriages.
Sessions reiterated the necessity for a wall in order to properly police the border.
Sessions also praised Trump saying that under his administration, there has been a considerable decrease in border crossings.
He called Sessions' actions "appalling, but they are also predictable for a man who has seethed intolerance for his entire public career".
Currently, it is a misdemeanor to enter the USA illegally.
For 20 years in the Senate, including a recent stint as chairman of the Judiciary Committee's immigration panel, Sessions was among the loudest voices opposing illegal immigration and programs for guest workers.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said he wasn't invited to Tuesday's tour and would have gladly shared his thoughts on border security and the needs of local law enforcement.
Sessions was also set to speak with service members at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix.