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SAN DIEGO – 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.