NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Immigration and national security were at the top of a list of topics U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed in a speech at Slover Library in Norfolk Friday. Sessions chose not to address headlines involving President Trump and the Special Counsel during his visit.
13News Now wanted to ask the head of the Department of Justice about reports President Trump ordered the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but Sessions stuck to the script. He walked in and out of the room without taking any questions from reporters.
Law enforcement officers from around Hampton Roads and their federal partners made for a captive audience for the Attorney General. Sessions told them he believes "immigration is a national security issue."
"If we can’t control or even know who enters the country, it’s that much harder to keep people safe," he explained.
Sessions gave specifics on a proposal which would add 10,000 new ICE officers, 1,000 new ICE attorneys, 300 new immigration prosecutors and 400 new immigration judges
"There’s nothing wrong, nothing immoral to developing a policy of immigration that we believe strengthens America," he stated.
According to the DOJ head, the President is determined to build a wall along the southern border.
"This will make it harder, much harder and far more expensive for illegal aliens to break our laws, smuggle drugs or even human beings into the country," he said to the crowd of about 50 people. "For many, it will become too costly or too much trouble and they will stay home."
Sessions also detailed a merit-based system as part of the Trump administration's immigration plan.
"That means welcoming the best and brightest, but banning and deporting gang members, identity fraudsters, drunk drivers and child abusers, making them inadmissible in our country," he went on.
The former Senator from Alabama conceded no permanent fix is possible without Congress. A fight on this very topic came to a head this week with the government shutdown.
"This is an issue of crime committed by aliens," Sessions added. "It doesn’t just affect the victims of those crimes. It affects all of us."
Before Sessions' arrival, a small group of protesters gathered outside of the library.
Sessions did not make himself available for questions after his speech in Norfolk. He made his remarks just days after news broke that he was interviewed last week as part of the special counsel's Russia investigation.