A new directive by the Trump administration has paved the way for the criminal prosecution of every migrant caught jumping the US-Mexico border, as opposed to civil deportation proceedings employed in most cases up until now.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen issued the directive last week, announcing that DHS will refer those entering the country illegally for criminal cases.
Illegal entry into the United States is a misdemeanor crime, however attempts to sneak back in after a prior deportation are a felony which DHS says needs to be enforced.
“DHS will enforce the immigration laws as set forth by Congress,” said a Homeland Security official via the Washington Times.
The move will be a major test for federal prosecutors and courts, who could see their caseloads surge as they deal with what could be thousands of new cases each month.
But it’s likely to thrill Border Patrol agents who had begged for the government to impose serious consequences on illegal immigrants, for whom crossing the border, getting deported and trying again is just a part of their way of life. -Washington Times
On Monday morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinforced the DOJ's new push at curbing illegal immigration, telling a Scottsdale, Arizona law enforcement conference that those entering the country illegally with children will be subejct to separation.
"If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law," said Sessions. "If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border."
Later, speaking from San Diego, Sessions reiterated the push - only changing his language from "will be separated from you" to "may be separated from you as required by law."
"If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you – and that child may be separated from you as required by law," AG Jeff Sessions says during speech at U.S.-Mexico border. https://t.co/FjCeNLvINp pic.twitter.com/t0RRjU2inx
Protesting Sessions was a man equipped with a bullhorn wearing a white shirt which read "Nazi Fascistas ¡No Pasarán!" - who asks "Why are you here? Are you gonna be separating families? Don't.. why are you doing this? Do you have a heart? Do you have a soul?"
Protester with bull horn shouts at Sessions. #nbc7 pic.twitter.com/ykrAXAijPQ
Sessions announced last Wednesday that the DOJ will be sending 35 prosecutors and 18 judges to the southern U.S. border in order to more efficiently prosecute illegal immigrants. Texas will receive 15 attorneys, followed by eight to California, six to...