Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced a new zero tolerance policy towards those who attempt to cross the border illegally, after DHS announced a 203 percent increase in illegal border crossings for March 2018 compared to the same month last year.
The new zero-tolerance policy directs each U.S. Attorney’s Office along the Southwest Border (Southern District of California, District of Arizona, District of New Mexico, Western District of Texas, and the Southern District of Texas) to adopt a policy to prosecute all Department of Homeland Security referrals of section 1325(a) violations to the extent practicable.
It follows on from Sessions’ directive last April for all federal prosecutors to prioritize the prosecution of certain criminal immigration offenses.
DHS figures revealed that there has been a 37 percent increase in illegal border crossings in March, compared to February, but a 203 percent increase compared to March 2017. The number of Family Units increased by 49 percent and the number of unaccompanied children (UAC) increased by 41 percent compared to last month.
“The situation at our Southwest Border is unacceptable. Congress has failed to pass effective legislation that serves the national interest—that closes dangerous loopholes and fully funds a wall along our southern border. As a result, a crisis has erupted at our Southwest Border that necessitates an escalated effort to prosecute those who choose to illegally cross our border,” Sessions said.
“To those who wish to challenge the Trump administration’s commitment to public safety, national security, and the rule of law, I warn you: illegally entering this country will not be rewarded, but will instead be met with the full prosecutorial powers of the Department of Justice. To the Department’s prosecutors, I urge you: promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens. You play a critical part in fulfilling these goals, and I thank you for your continued efforts in seeing to it that our laws—and as a result, our nation—are respected.”