The Department of Homeland Security has a message for anyone looking to cross the border illegally.
Customs and Border Patrol agents will show “zero tolerance” to potential illegal immigrants, DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton warned on Friday.
April 2018 border crossings saw a 223 percent increase compared to April 2017, according to data released by CBP on Friday.
“The recently released April 2018 Southwest Border Migration numbers underscore the continuing security crisis along our southwest border. The number of illegal border crossers increased in April from the previous month, and more than tripled in April 2018 in comparison to April 2017. For the second month in a row, we have seen more than 50,000 individuals try to illegally enter the United States,” Houlton said in the statement.
“If you enter our country illegally, you have broken the law and will be referred for prosecution,” he warned.
“DHS has zero tolerance for those who break the law and will no longer exempt classes or groups of individuals from prosecution. Whether you are a single adult or an adult member of a family unit, if you are apprehended you will be prosecuted and put in removal proceedings,” he said.
Houlton added that DHS and the Justice Department have “taken recent steps to surge the necessary resources – such as asylum officers, immigration judges, prosecutors, and ICE attorneys – to promptly adjudicate cases through our civil immigration system or through criminal prosecution.”
The data report found that a “total of 38,234 individuals were apprehended between ports of entry on our Southwest Border” in April , compared with 37,383 in March and 26,662 in February.
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, faults the de facto “catch-and-release” policy that affects about 75 percent of all migrants caught by Border Patrol agents, the Washington Times reported.
“The reason is obvious: If you can cross the border illegally without any consequence, why not? As long as the catch-and-release policy-program exists, large numbers of people are going to cross the border illegally,” Judd said.
The new numbers were released as the border agency is dealing with the illegal immigrant caravan of mostly Central Americans seeking asylum in the U.S. Thoman Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, called the caravan an “attack on the sovereignty” of America.
“To those seeking to abuse our generous laws – we are watching,” Houlton concluded in the CBP statement
“We will not sit back and watch our laws exploited,” he said. “If you make a false immigration claim, you will be referred for prosecution. If you assist or coach individuals in making false immigration claims, you will be referred for prosecution.”
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