Federal prosecutors were ordered to take a “zero tolerance policy” toward illegal immigrants arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying in a memorandum Friday that they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible (read the memorandum HERE).

From the Washington Times: U.S. attorneys in Arizona, New Mexico, southern California and southern and west Texas were told to prosecute every person Homeland Security officers and agents catch attempting to enter the U.S. illegally, “to the extent practicable.”

“You are on the front lines of this battle,” Mr. Sessions said in a memo to the prosecutors.

The orders are a major escalation in the administration’s efforts to discourage illegal immigration and come as the latest numbers released this week showed a more than 200 percent increase in attempts at illegal entry in March, compared to a year earlier.

Crossing the border is a misdemeanor crime, but with authorities attempting to quickly deport them through the civil immigration system, some illegal immigrants attempt to cross multiple times each night. If caught, they immediately try again, according to the report.

In areas where there is a zero-tolerance policy, attempts at illegal immigration are reduced.