California

US prosecutors are geared to target border crossers

  • FILE--In this Feb. 18, 2017, file photo, thousands take part in the ''Free the People Immigration March,'' to protest actions taken by President Donald Trump and his administration, in Los Angeles, Calif. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' new guidelines on border crimes suggest prosecutors in California will be forced to tow a narrow line, along with counterparts in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, file)

    FILE--In this Feb. 18, 2017, file photo, thousands take part in the ''Free the People Immigration March,'' to protest actions taken by President Donald Trump and his administration, in Los Angeles, Calif. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' new guidelines on border crimes suggest prosecutors in California will be forced to tow a narrow line, along with counterparts in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE--In this Feb. 18, 2017, file photo, thousands take part in the ''Free the People Immigration March,'' to protest actions taken by President Donald Trump and his administration, in Los Angeles, Calif. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' new guidelines on border crimes suggest prosecutors in California will be forced to tow a narrow line, along with counterparts in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, file)

    FILE--In this Feb. 18, 2017, file photo, thousands take part in the ''Free the People Immigration March,'' to protest actions taken by President Donald Trump and his administration, in Los Angeles, Calif. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' new guidelines on border crimes suggest prosecutors in California will be forced to tow a narrow line, along with counterparts in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, file)  (The Associated Press)

Through Republican and Democratic presidential administrations, the top federal prosecutor on California's border with Mexico has resisted going after people caught entering the United States illegally on their first try and instead targeted smugglers and serial offenders.

That approach may face a day of reckoning under President Donald Trump.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions' new directive on border crimes suggests prosecutors in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas will be forced to tow a narrow line.

Sessions says each should consider felony prosecution for anyone convicted twice of entering illegally and develop plans to target first-time offenders and charge them with misdemeanors, which could send them to jail for up to six months.