Political News

Justice Department officially rescinds policy that led to family separations

Posted January 26, 2021 5:27 p.m. EST

— The Justice Department formally rescinded the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" policy that called for the criminal prosecution of adults crossing the border and led to the separation of thousands of families, according to a memo obtained by CNN.

The policy was ended by former President Donald Trump in June 2018 after mounting criticism, but on Tuesday, the department moved to rescind it altogether.

"Consistent with this longstanding principle of making individualized assessments in criminal cases, I am rescinding -- effective immediately -- the policy directive," acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson said in a memo to federal prosecutors.

"While policies may change, our mission always remains the same: to seek justice under the law," Wilkinson added.

The Associated Press first reported on the memo.

In a statement to CNN, a Justice Department spokeswoman called the "zero tolerance" policy "inconsistent with the Department's longstanding principle that we exercise judgment and make individualized assessments in criminal cases."

"Today's action restores to prosecutors their traditional discretion to make charging decisions based on a careful review of the particular facts and circumstances of individual immigration cases," the spokeswoman said.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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