The Washington Post just published a story quoting a senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official who says that in response to President Trump’s new executive order about family separation, CBP is stopping criminal referrals to the Department of Justice (DOJ) of people caught crossing the border illegally if the come along with their family.

Now the Department of Justice responded to this story by saying “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.” But the DOJ’s “zero tolerance policy” just says that if the DOJ receives a criminal referral of a person caught crossing the border illegally, they will initiate criminal prosecution of that person. That says nothing about what criminal referrals they will or will not receive from other agencies.

So my question is, has either CBP or the Department of Homeland Security more broadly made any on-the-record statements confirming or denying the Washington Post story that CBP is stopping criminal refers of illegal entries by people with families?

  • What the president of the union of border patrol agents has stated is that they lack the resources (over burdened) to complete the current mission. What could be occurring is a back and forth (by way of pseudo-anonymous comments made to reporters) as to what the agencies will do in an attempt to secure greater funding for the agency to complete the mission. One approach to gather an accurate description of exactly what was stated would be to contact the reporter who wrote the article to ask them specifically what the unnamed official stated and if any further statements have been made to them. Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 14:33

1 Answer 1


Yes, both CBP and the White House have confirmed that CBP has temporarily stopped criminal referrals of illegal entries by families. Here is what this article says:

Earlier Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted that the Trump administration’s reversal in referring parents crossing the border illegally with children for prosecution is only temporary because the government is running out of resources. Sanders spoke to reporters after the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said he has stopped referring cases involving children for prosecution....

[CBP Comissioner] McAleenan says agents have temporarily stopped referring cases for criminal prosecution involving parents and children.

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