Several Department of Homeland Security officials reportedly want DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to prosecute parents who illegally bring minors across the border.
According to a Thursday report from The Washington Post, the officials believe the “most effective” way to deter illegal immigration would be to set an example to those currently breaking the law.
Should Nielson and her department fail to stop the current tide of 700 border crossings by parents with children per day, attempted border crossings will only continue to skyrocket, a memorandum obtained by the Post said.
Currently, the so-called “catch and release” practice allows illegal immigrant parents caught by border agents to walk free until their deportation hearing. The “catch and run” policy, as many Border Patrol agents sarcastically call it, results in nearly half not showing up for their hearings, preferring instead to disappear.
“As Secretary Nielsen said, we will enforce immigration laws as set forth by Congress,” DHS spokesperson Katie Waldman told The Hill. “DHS is looking at all options in conjunction with the Attorney General’s zero tolerance policy for those illegally crossing the border. We will not comment further on internal deliberations.”
“Again, DHS does not have a policy of separating families at the border for deterrence purposes. DHS does, however, have a legal obligation to protect the best interests of the child whether that be from human smugglings, drug traffickers, or nefarious actors who knowingly break our immigration laws and put minor children at risk.”