The nation’s “toughest courthouse” for illegal border crossings is located in Del Rio, Tx. In other places, authorities routinely skip criminal charges and simply order quick deportations. For the last decade, just about everyone arrested near Del Rio gets prosecuted, the Associated Press reports. The tough approach is a model President Trump hopes to replicate as part of his sweeping plans to stop illegal immigration. He wants to prosecute many more people caught crossing the border illegally. The plan won’t be cheap. Immigration cases already account for more than half of federal prosecutions. Trump is seeking hundreds of million dollars more for more jail cells, prosecutors and marshals to transport prisoners. It’s unclear whether Congress will give him the money.
Civil libertarians say arrestees are rushed through the legal system without having a chance to exercise their rights. A previous attempt to expand the Del Rio approach had mixed results. Prosecutions spiked at the end of the Bush administration and during the first few years of the Obama administration, but later declined, because of a drop in arrests and limited jail and prosecution resources. Still, Trump administration officials plan to press ahead. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly have been touring the border in recent weeks, saying that those who enter the U.S. illegally will be arrested, prosecuted and deported. “This is a new era. This is the Trump era,” Sessions said in Nogales, Az.