Published on: Friday, February 10, 2017

On February 9, 2017, the White House issued three executive orders targeting crime, following the swearing in of Jeff Sessions as the new Attorney General.

Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking:
This order calls on the administration to strengthen federal law to reduce transnational criminal organizations, including those that smuggle drugs, people, and weapons and engage in financial and cyber crime. It directs that federal law enforcement “give high priority  and devote sufficient resources” to going after such organizations, including extraditing members to face prosecution in the United States, where possible, and deporting foreign nationals who are members of such groups. The order calls on the heads of several agencies to review existing federal laws that could be used to further combat international crime groups. It additionally directs federal agencies to  maximize information sharing among themselves and with foreign governments.   

Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers: This order focuses on preventing crime against law enforcement, including a push to define new federal crimes and potentially establish new mandatory minimum sentences. The order directs the attorney general to review existing federal laws “to determine whether those laws are adequate to address the protection and safety” of law enforcement officers at all levels. Following that review, the Attorney General will make recommendations to the President for potential new legislation, which would include “defining new crimes of violence and establishing new mandatory minimum sentences for existing crimes of violence against” officers. The Attorney General is also directed to evaluate all Justice Department grant funding programs “to determine the extent to which its grant funding supports and protects” officers and recommend any changes.

A Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety:
The third order directs the Attorney General to establish a task force aimed at developing strategies “to reduce crime, including, in  particular, illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and violent crime.” The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety — whose members will be chosen by the Attorney General — will propose new legislation and evaluate existing laws and data collection on crime.