Border Patrol agents face assault from illegal aliens (meaning people who have illegally crossed the U.S. border that are not citizens but aliens, as in, citizens of another country) at record rates.

A report published this week reveals that assaults on U.S. Border Patrol agents are up 143 percent over the same period in 2016. Since the fiscal year began on the first of October, 462 Border Patrol agents have been assaulted.

Border Patrol agents are the most assaulted law enforcement officers in the federal government, former Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee in November. And since his testimony, the numbers have skyrocketed.

In March alone, illegal aliens, human smugglers, foreign nationals, and American criminals assaulted 49 Border Patrol agents, according to an April 10 U.S. Customs & Border Protection report.

According to interviews, many agents believe they are frequently assaulted because the offenses are rarely prosecuted–usually only when a hospital stay is involved.

On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he is putting an end to that and directed the Department of Justice to aggressively prosecute assaults on agents. “I have directed that all 94 U.S. Attorneys Offices make the prosecution of assault on a federal law enforcement officer — that’s all of you — a top priority,” the Attorney General told a group of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Nogales, Arizona. “If someone dares to assault one of our folks in the line of duty, they will do federal time for it.”

This commitment comes as Sessions announced tougher prosecutorial standards for people caught crossing the border illegally during his tour on southern Arizona last week, where he emphasized prosecuting cartel and gang connected drug and human smugglers as well as repeat crossers.

“The catch and release practices of old are over,” Sessions told a group of U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel gathered in Nogales, Arizona.

Speaking to the CBP officers and Border Patrol agents (and then Tweeted via the official DOJ account), the AG said, “I am here to tell you, the brave men and women of Customs and Border Protection: we hear you and we have your back. Together, we will drastically reduce the danger posed by criminal aliens, gang members, and cartel henchmen.”

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