DHS To Refer Unauthorized Border Crossers To Prosecutors

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is creating a new program to refer all unauthorized border crossers to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution, ramping up his previous “zero tolerance” enforcement policies along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In remarks before Arizona state criminal investigative agencies, he clarified that anyone who smuggles noncitizens across the border, even their own children, will be prosecuted and separated from their family. Those who make false statements to an immigration officer, commit fraud to attain immigration benefits or help others do so will be prosecuted for a felony offense and put in jail, he said.

“Today, the Department of Homeland Security is partnering with us and will begin a new initiative that will result in referring 100 percent of illegal Southwest Border crossings to the Department of Justice for prosecution,” Sessions said. “And the Department of Justice will take up as many of those cases as humanly possible until we get to 100 percent. If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple.”

Later, Sessions reiterated the policy in a speech at the border in San Diego, Calif., describing his intent to separate families. The American Civil Liberties Union has challenged the practice in California federal court, alleging violations of the Constitution’s due process clause, federal asylum statutes and the Administrative Procedure Act.

“If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you,” he said. “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.”

He also denounced the caravan of Central American migrants that arrived at the border recently, saying that “people are not going to caravan or otherwise stampede our border.”