Biden Justice Department Rescinds Trump’s Family Separation & ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policies At U.S. Border
In a letter to all U.S. Attorneys Thursday, new Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson under Joe Biden officially rescinded the “zero tolerance” policy allowing migrant family separation and requiring prosecution of anyone crossing the U.S.-Mexican border.
While Donald Trump formally rescinded his own executive order allowing family separation, he never rescinded the requirement that all migrants be prosecuted and directed prosecutors have “zero tolerance” in prosecutions.
Wilkinson’s letter, “Rescinding the Zero-Tolerance Policy for Offenses Under 8 USC 1235,” specifies that those who cross the southern border without proper authorization may still be deported but that they no longer need to be prosecuted in U.S. courts, nor separated from their families.
Prosecutors have now been instructed to use discretion in prosecution misdemeanors rather than “zero tolerance.” Wilkinson specifically writes, “take into account other individualized factors, including personal circumstances and criminal history, the seriousness of the offense, and the probable sentence or other consequences that would result from a conviction.”