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John Locher / AP

Yesterday at the National District Attorneys Association, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he will be issuing a directive making it easier for police across the nation to permanently confiscate a criminal suspect's property.

Why it matters: Asset forfeiture is banned in 14 states before there are criminal charges, but the directive would allowing state and local officials to go around their state legislatures, confiscate a suspect's property and file it with a federal prosecutor.

"The Justice Department should be helping state legislatures not creating a financial incentive for state and local law enforcement to go against their own legislatures," Robert Everett Johnson, an attorney from the Institute forJustice told Axios.

The purpose of asset forfeiture: The original purpose of asset forfeiture is to prevent a criminal from keeping "the proceeds of their crime," as Sessions explained, and to prevent further criminal activity.

The controversy: In most states, police do not have to wait for a conviction to take a suspect's assets. On top of that, most state and local law enforcement agencies receive the proceeds from confiscated property, which creates an incentive for practicing asset forfeiture and opens the door for abuse. The Drug Enforcement Administration has taken more than $3 billion in cash from people not charged with any crime since 2007, according to the Washington Post.

State reform: In the last three years, there have been 24 states that have passed laws providing better protection for property owners in these instances, says Johnson, and the directive is "an attack on those reforms."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.