Jeff Sessions: Parents and children illegally crossing the border will be separated

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US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that Washington will take a stricter stance on illegal crossings at the Mexico border by separating parents from children, rather than keeping them together in detention centres, the media reported.

Sessions said he has "no doubt" that many of those crossing the border illegally are fleeing dire conditions at home but noted that "we can not take everyone on Earth who is in a hard situation".

Sessions announced his plans in a speech in Scottsdale, Arizona, and in remarks to reporters in San Diego.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is creating a new program to refer all unauthorized border crossers to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution, ramping up his previous "zero tolerance" enforcement policies along the U.S. -Mexico border.

"If you cross the border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you - it's that simple".

In Sessions' prepared remarks, he pledged his department would take up as numerous referrals from DHS "as humanly possible".

He implored families seeking asylum to present themselves at ports of entry rather than crossing illegally under unsafe, and frequently deadly, circumstances. In April, the administration said it was no longer considering such action because of a decline in apprehensions of families at the US border with Mexico. "The second situation when we separate is when we prosecute". Most were families or kids traveling alone from Central America.

In a major policy shift, the Homeland Security and Justice departments are promising to prosecute everyone suspected of illegally entering the United States. Those apprehended were swiftly put into immigration proceedings and, unless they met the threshold to pursue a valid asylum claim, can be quickly deported from the country.

"Criminalizing and stigmatizing parents who are only trying to keep their children from harm and give them a safe upbringing will cause untold damage to thousands of traumatized families who have already given up everything to flee bad circumstances in their home countries", said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International's Americas director.

"So many of these parents are fleeing for their lives".

Advocacy groups blasted the moves as cruel and heartless, especially in cases where the family is seeking asylum in the United States.

The Trump administration is trying to criminalize all people crossing the southern border of the US, including families seeking asylum. The woman's lawyers have used those statements as evidence in her case. "That's more than the population of Portugal or the state of Georgia", adding that illegal border crossings "must end". The number of such prosecutions declined to 60,000 in the last fiscal year, which ended September 30, 2017, but it is expected to increase dramatically and perhaps break the Obama record this year.

"People are dying trying to enter this country". Roughly 5,000 to almost 10,000 families per month were part of that total. "Now, you will see more prosecutions because of the attorney general's commitment to zero tolerance". We understand the risks you take and the tools you need to be effective.

A University of California-Berkeley Law study done on Operation Streamline said it was ineffective, and a 2015 Department of Homeland Security Inspector General analysis found it was hard to assess the program's effectiveness and cost because of insufficient internal data. It would not apply to people who surrender at ports of entry to seek asylum.

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