Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed Monday the Department of Justice wants to prosecute "100 percent" of people who illegally cross the southwest U.S. border.
"If you cross the border unlawfully, even a first offense, then we're going to prosecute you," Sessions said.
His speech to the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies confirmed recent news reports on increased enforcement of illegal border crossings.
"If you smuggle an illegal alien across the border, then we'll prosecute you for smuggling," Sessions said. "If you're smuggling a child, then we are going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don't want your child to be separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally."
The Department of Homeland Security reported almost 51,000 people were arrested or turned away at the southwest border in April. That's the highest number since December 2016.