Feds announce ‘zero tolerance’ policy for illegal immigration

The Washington Times
Sessions orders attorneys to prosecute every possible case of illegal entry.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered federal prosecutors to take a “zero tolerance policy” toward illegal immigrants nabbed at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

U.S. attorneys in Arizona, New Mexico, southern California and southern and west Texas were told to prosecute every person Homeland Security officers and agents catch attempting to enter the U.S. illegally, “to the extent practicable.”

“You are on the front lines of this battle,” Mr. Sessions said in a memo to the prosecutors.

The orders are a major escalation in the administration’s efforts to discourage illegal immigration, and come as the latest numbers released this week showed a more than 200 percent increase in attempts at illegal entry in March, compared to a year earlier.

Jumping the border is a misdemeanor crime, but authorities have in the past often approached lawbreakers through the civil immigration system, attempting to quickly deport them. That led to instances where some illegal immigrants would make multiple attempts each night, get caught and ousted and immediately try again.

Where a zero tolerance policy of prosecutions has been tried, however, it’s seen major successes in cutting attempts at illegal immigration — though civil rights groups have also complained about overzealous law enforcement.

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