DOJ Aims To Prosecute '100 Percent' Of Illegal Border Crossings

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The trip marked the fourth recent visit by a high-ranking official from the administration of President Donald Trump to tout a zero-tolerance stance against illegal immigration. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.

"We don't want to separate families but we don't want families to come to the border illegally and attempt to enter the country improperly", Sessions said. So many of these children know no other adult than the parent who brought them here.

This announcement comes as the Trump administration has a fit over a slight surge in people crossing the border, even though the number of illegal border crossings has been declining steadily for years.

The so-called "zero-tolerance" measure announced Monday could split up thousands of families because children are not allowed in criminal jails.

"New figures show a mini-surge in March - a 200 percent increase in border apprehensions compared to previous year". These families frequently undergo significant trauma and hardship before making it here and do so knowing the great risks they face.

"Criminalizing and stigmatizing parents who are only trying to keep their children from harm and give them a safe upbringing will cause untold damage to thousands of traumatized families who have already given up everything to flee awful circumstances in their home countries", said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International's Americas director.

Children who are separated from their parents would be put under supervision of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, Sessions said.

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"I have no doubt that many of those crossing our border illegally are leaving hard situations". In April, the administration said it was no longer considering such action because of a decline in apprehensions of families at the US border with Mexico. Those moves were announced last week.

The 100 percent prosecution "policy is yet another solution in search of a problem", said Jeremy McKinney, national secretary of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The most common criminal charge is "improper entry by alien" - or illegal entry.

Criminal prosecutions for violating immigration laws spiked during President Obama's first term, reaching almost 100,000 in fiscal year 2013, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

Crossing the border illegally is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison for a first-time offender. His remarks Monday appeared to signal that federal prosecutors will make this a higher priority. "It's that simple", he said.

The truth is that the United States has invaded more countries than anyone since Hitler. We're not going to stand for this.

"We are not going to let this country be overwhelmed", Sessions told reporters at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. "We will not be stampeded".

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