"If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you".
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen officially enacted the policy on Friday, according to a Department of Homeland Security official speaking on condition of anonymity.
In Sessions' prepared remarks, he pledged his department would take up as numerous referrals from DHS "as humanly possible".
"U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman and his team should be commended for quickly filing illegal entry charges for individuals apprehended along the southwestern border".
According to the report, families that are detained for illegal crossings have typically been kept together in the past. "If you are smuggling a child, we will prosecute you, and that child may be separated from you, as required by law".
Vice President Mike Pence touring Calexico border wall after migrant caravan arrivesJust last week, President Donald Trump shared his frustration as a caravan of more than 200 migrants from Central America made the trek to Tijuana to escape violence in their home countries.
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Sessions said the USA will put in place a "zero tolerance policy for illegal entry on our southwest border".
The New York Times reported last month that hundreds of children have been taken from their parents at the border since October.
It has long been a misdemeanor federal offense to be caught illegally entering the United States, punishable by up to six months in prison, but the administration has not always referred everyone caught for prosecution. Last fiscal year, the number of immigration prosecutions declined 14 percent, to almost 60,000.
He said he has sent 35 prosecutors to the Southwest and moved 18 immigration judges to the border to help with asylum claims.
After President Trump called for renewed efforts to tamp down on illegal border crossings last month, Sessions ordered USA attorneys on the border to prosecute migrants "to the extent practicable".
The Department of Justice says Sessions will hold a news conference Monday afternoon in San Diego. "Each of those devices was tied to a threat to the American people", Sessions said, adding that the "stakes are high". "That's more than the population of the state of Georgia".