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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks in Baltimore

Posted at 5:09 AM, Dec 12, 2017

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says President Donald Trump's administration has hired 50 immigration judges since January and plans to hire another 60 over the next six months to manage a backlog of cases that have "overwhelmed" the U.S. immigration system.

Sessions said at a news conference Tuesday that the immigration caseload has tripled since fiscal 2009, but that "under President Trump, we have already taken steps to bring down the backlog in cases."

He also said border crossings by undocumented immigrants are now at their lowest level in 45 years, but vowed "that number can be zero. We can do it."

Sessions spoke at the news conference with the new secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen M. Nielsen. She said U.S. law enforcement is redoubling efforts to sweep up members of MS-13 and other violent gangs that have spread from Latin America. She says gang killings and other violence will not be tolerated by American communities.