PHOENIX (AP) — The Justice Department has announced it is adding prosecutors and judges to deal with a backlog of immigration cases along the southwestern U.S.-Mexico border.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday in a statement from Washington, D.C., that 35 new assistant U.S. Attorney jobs were created to help prosecute improper entry, illegal re-entry and immigrant smuggling in the four states bordering Mexico.

The department says the new positions in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are part of the “zero-tolerance policy” Sessions announced last month to deal with a new surge in apprehensions along the border.

To deal with an already existing backlog of cases, 18 supervising immigration judges are being assigned to hear cases in immigration courts near the border, both in person and through video teleconferencing.

A mother and child, 3, from El Salvador await transport to a processing center for undocumented immigrants after they crossed the Rio Grande into the United States. (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)