The Trump Administration Says It Will Prosecute All Parents Crossing the Border, Separate More Families

Illustration for article titled The Trump Administration Says It Will Prosecute All Parents Crossing the Border, Separate More Families
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The Department of Homeland Security and immigration officials have separated hundreds of children from their parents at the U.S. border since last October—at least 700, according to the Department of Health and Human Services—and the number is only going to increase, according to the Trump administration.

As reported by the Washington Post, the Justice Department says it now plans to prosecute of every single person who crosses into the country along the Southwest border without authorization. On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told attendees at the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies in Scottsdale, Arizona that DHS will refer such cases to the Justice Department for prosecution to “take on as many of those cases as humanly possible until we get to 100 percent.”

No exceptions will be made for parents, he continued (emphasis mine):

“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 don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border. If you make false statements to an immigration officer or commit fraud in our system to obtain an immigration benefit, that’s a felony. We will put you in jail.”

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By way of preview of the policy, and how it would impact families, a DHS official told the Wall Street Journal on Monday: “The Attorney General directed the U.S. Attorney’s offices to adopt a zero tolerance policy for all offenses referred for prosecution.”

More from WSJ:

Most of the adults who cross with children come from violence-ravaged Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and are seeking asylum in the U.S. Under the new policy, adults will still be able to apply for asylum, but they may be detained while their cases are considered. Children will be treated as if they had arrived in the U.S. without an adult. Unaccompanied children from countries other than Mexico and Canada are placed with family or in shelters while their cases are considered by immigration courts, a process that can take years.

Under current policy, many families are released whole while their asylum cases are processed.

The news arrives just days after a harrowing report from Reveal uncovered that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been using dental and bone scans to place immigrant minors into adult detention facilities, even though it’s considered a “last resort,” in their handbook and has been denounced by Congress and immigration advocates.

Make no mistake: This administration does not give a shit about the well-being of children.

URL: Senior Writer, Jezebel. IRL: Author of the very good book 'LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS,' out now.

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DISCUSSION

thenoblerenard
The Noble Renard

The galling hypocrisy of the bigots in charge of ICE/DHS/DOJ continues to make me want to scream. They claim that they want to prosecute families and tear apart children’s lives as a way to protect families and children; because by reducing the demand for smuggling, they will reduce the danger to those families caused by coyotes and the trips across the desert. And yet, at the same time, when a migrant caravan of asylum seekers arrives the Border the president throws a massive tantrum and all of his lackeys issue statements falsely claiming that the caravan members are defying law by seeking to follow the law and present themselves at ports of entry to ask for asylum.

What Jeff Sessions and the restrictionists want is for Hondurans and Mexicans and Salvadorans and Guatemalans to just give up and accept their fate. God forbid those people fleeing death, rape, and persecution at home come to the United States and get victimized on the way here; better to just die alone in their homes, murdered by an MS-13 member or a spouse or by corrupt police forces.

To Jeff Sessions and his ilk, the only good refugee child is the refugee child who never left home and died alone and afraid on the floor of their bedroom.

/my apologies for the violent imagery.