Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions: "I have put in place a `zero tolerance' policy for illegal entry on our Southwest border."


Fellow blogger Kit Johnson posted about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' speech on immigration enforcement in San Diego yesterday.  Here is the full text of the remarks.  

Sessions laid out the "zero tolerance" policy on undocumented immigration as follows:

"Today we are here to send a message to the world: we are not going to let this country be overwhelmed.

People are not going to caravan or otherwise stampede our border. 

We need legality and integrity in the system.

That’s why the Department of Homeland Security is now referring 100 percent of illegal Southwest Border crossings to the Department of Justice for prosecution.  And the Department of Justice will take up those cases.

I have put in place a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal entry on our Southwest border.  If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you.  It’s that simple.

If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you.

If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.

If you make false statements to an immigration officer or file a fraudulent asylum claim, that’s a felony. 

If you help others to do so, that’s a felony, too.  You’re going to jail.

So if you’re going to come to this country, come here legally.  Don’t come here illegally.

In order to carry out these important new enforcement policies, I have sent 35 prosecutors to the Southwest and moved 18 immigration judges to the border.  These are supervisory judges that don’t have existing caseloads and will be able to function full time on moving these cases.  That will be about a 50 percent increase in the number of immigration judges who will be handling the asylum claims."

As discussed by Roque Planas and Elise Foley for Huffington Post, the Trump administration is changing direction:

"Crossing the border illegally is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. But previously the Justice Department rarely targeted family units — as the Border Patrol describes parents who cross with their children — for prosecution. Instead, authorities typically routed migrant families to immigration courts, and they were often released from detention after three weeks because of a court order limiting how long undocumented children may remain locked up. People with credible fear of being returned to their native countries were likewise often sent to immigration court instead of being criminally prosecuted.

But now, with the Trump administration looking for ways to crack down on policies its officials deride as “catch and release,” the response has gotten harsher.

. . .. 11 immigration prosecutions [were] filed against alleged members of a caravan of asylum-seeking Central Americans. At least two others were also separated from their children after facing prosecution for illegal entry." 



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