WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration on Friday issued a harsh new warning to those considering crossing into America’s borders illegally.
Going forward, says Attorney General Jeff Sessions, border patrol agents will institute a “zero tolerance” policy toward illegals caught crossing America’s border.
“The situation at our Southwest Border is unacceptable,” Sessions said in a statement announcing the policy. “Congress has failed to pass effective legislation that serves the national interest — that closes dangerous loopholes and fully funds a wall along our southern border. ”
“As a result, a crisis has erupted at our Southwest Border that necessitates an escalated effort to prosecute those who choose to illegally cross our border,” Sessions added.
The move is just the latest in a series of mandates put forth by the president, who campaigned heavily on his promise to secure America’s borders and follows a series of tweets earlier in the week in which Trump slammed the Obama-era “catch and release” program.
“We don’t have laws, we have catch-and-release,” the president tweeted on Tuesday. “You catch and then you immediately release and people come back years later for a court case, except they virtually never come back.”
“Our Border Laws are very weak while those of Mexico & Canada are very strong,” he added Wednesday. “Congress must change these Obama era, and other, laws NOW!”
While speaking at a rally in West Virginia on Thursday to tout the benefits of Republican tax cuts, the president said the negative impact illegal immigrants have on voting must not be discounted.
“In many places, like California, the same person votes many times. You probably heard about that,” Trump said. “They always like to say, ‘Oh, that’s a conspiracy theory.’ Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people. And it’s very hard because the state guards their records. They don’t want us to see them.”
During Friday’s announcement, Sessions warned those who may be contemplating entering America illegally to reconsider, adding that illegal entry into the U.S. will not be rewarded and will be instead “met with the full prosecutorial powers of the Department of Justice.”
“To the Department’s prosecutors, I urge you: promoting and enforcing the rule of law is vital to protecting a nation, its borders, and its citizens,” he said.
Also, in a press release issued Thursday, the Pentagon announced the establishment of a new “border security support cell” which will be used to house those caught illegally crossing the border.
“We will not allow illegal immigration levels to become the norm,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement. “More than 1,000 people a day, 300,000 a year violating our sovereignty as a nation will never be acceptable to this president.”