Published on: Thursday, April 12, 2018

On April 6, 2018, Attorney General Jefferson Sessions notified all U.S. Attorney’s Offices along the Southwest Border of a new “zero-tolerance policy” for offenses under 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a)(prohibiting both attempted illegal entry and illegal entry in the United States by an alien).  “The situation at our Southwest Border is unacceptable. 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,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The new policy comes as the Department of Homeland Security reported a 203 percent increase illegal border crossings from March 2017 to March 2018, and a 37 percent increase from February 2018 to March 2018. See DHS Southwest Border Migration FY2018.     The recent increase follows a steep drop in illegal border crossings after President Trump’s inauguration, which were historically low through most of his first summer in office.  On April 11, in a follow-up to his zero-tolerance policy, the Attorney General sent a memorandum for all federal prosecutors titled Renewed Commitment to Criminal Immigration Enforcement, detailing the new charging-practice policies in immigration cases. 

The Training Division provides litigation resources for immigration offenses involving noncitizens(link is external),  immigration consequences of conviction, as well as several webinars on strategies for defending noncitizens from basic to advanced issues.