Immigration Law

Are prosecutions of immigrants continuing? DOJ says yes, official says trips to courthouse will end

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Border Patrol

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Updated: The Washington Post has corrected its story after sending out a news alert Thursday reporting that President Donald Trump's administration will suspend prosecution of immigrants who illegally enter the United States with their children.

The Washington Post quoted an unidentified senior official with U.S. Customs and Border Protection who said border patrol agents have been told to stop sending the parents to federal courthouses to face criminal charges.

“We’re suspending prosecutions of adults who are members of family units until ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] can accelerate resource capability to allow us to maintain custody,” the official told the Post. The quote remains in the updated story.

But the Post correction says “suspension” is not correct. “An earlier version incorrectly stated the Trump administration was suspending prosecutions for parents of migrant children,” the correction says. “The senior Customs and Border Protection official … was describing how the agency’s operations would change to no longer refer parents of migrant children for prosecution.”

The immigrant parents will still be charged with misdemeanors for crossing the border, the official said. Because appropriate facilities aren’t available to house the families, the immigrants will likely be released from custody while court hearings are pending, the official said.

Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores said prosecutions are continuing. “There has been no change to the department’s zero tolerance policy to prosecute adults who cross our border illegally instead of claiming asylum at any port of entry at the border,” she told the Post.

See also: ABA asylum project attorney describes representing separated families at the border

President Donald Trump has asserted that he will maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal immigration, even as he signed an executive order on Wednesday to end family separations. The executive order requires the Defense Department and other executive departments to make facilities available to house immigrants, and also requires the Defense Department to build such facilities “if necessary and consistent with law.”

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