AG Jeff Sessions outlines zero tolerance immigration policy
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — Community members gathered today to listen to Attorney General Jeff Sessions discuss immigration policies.
Sessions came to Fort Wayne to give his remarks at Parkview Field, 1301 Ewing St., at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, June 14, in the Suite Level Lounge.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced fleeing domestic or gang violence will no longer be reason enough to receive asylum in the United States. This would affect the status of thousands of would-be immigrants from Central America. The directive came in a 31-page department decision.
He made it clear that they are pursuing a "zero tolerance" prosecution policy at the border.
Protesters gathered downtown to counter his rally, taking issue with the separation of children from their families at the border.
Sessions said, "Having children does not give you immunity from arrest and prosecution. It certainly doesn't give immunity to American citizens who commit crimes."
Sessions said he has not made a new law, but is implementing what Congress has previously passed, which says that asylum is generally not for those who have suffered a private act of violence. It is for members of groups who are persecuted by the state or whom the state will not protect from persecution. Members of those groups cannot go somewhere else in their home country. Most victims of private crimes can.
"Word spread quickly that by asserting a fear of returning to one’s home country, one could remain in the United States," Sessions said." The results are just what one would expect. The number of illegal entrants has surged. Asylum claims skyrocketed, and the percentage of meritorious asylum claims— those actually granted— declined."
During his speech, Sessions said the vast majority of the claims are not valid. Sessions said over the last five years, only 20 percent of claims have been found to be meritorious after a hearing before an immigration judge. Sessions also said around fifteen percent are found invalid by during the initial screening by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
“We are generous," Sessions said, "We either have open borders or we have laws.”
Watch his full speech here: