Posted on May 8, 2018

DHS to Push for Criminal Charges Against All Border Jumpers

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, May 7, 2018

The Trump administration said Monday it will now pursue criminal charges against every migrant nabbed jumping the U.S.-Mexico border, putting serious teeth behind President Trump’s goal of stiffening immigration enforcement.

While most border jumpers will face charges for illegally entering the U.S., parents who bring their children with them as they sneak across could face smuggling charges, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. That could mean they will be separated from their children while they await their trials — and serve sentences.


But illegal entry is a misdemeanor crime and attempting to sneak back in after a previous deportation is a felony. Mr. Homan and Mr. Sessions said it’s time the government start treating them as such.

Immigrant-rights activists reacted with horror at the prospect of enforcing those laws, and particularly the prospect that illegal immigrants could have to be separated from their children when they end up in jail. {snip}.


While merely being in the U.S. without permission is not a criminal offense, jumping the border is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. And attempting to sneak in after having been ousted is a felony that can draw up to two years in prison. If someone was deported because of a major criminal charge, sneaking back in can draw a 10-year sentence.

The get-tough move will be a major test for the federal prosecutors and courts that could see caseloads surge as they deal with what could be thousands of new cases each month.

But it’s likely to thrill Border Patrol agents who had begged for the government to impose serious consequences on illegal immigrants, for whom crossing the border, getting deported and trying again is just a part of their way of life.


Homeland Security says test cases have shown prosecuting illegal immigrants works.

Authorities in El Paso in 2017 began to prosecute people who were coming across as families, and the number of people making the attempt dropped. After the prosecution program was “paused,” the numbers shot up again, Homeland Security says.


Homeland Security said those migrants, if they jump the border, will be prosecuted for illegal entry while their asylum cases proceed, just like other border jumpers.