WASHINGTON -- Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released the following statement on the Central American 'Caravan':
“DHS continues to monitor the remnants of the ‘caravan’ of individuals headed to our Southern border with the apparent intention of entering the United States illegally. A sovereign nation that cannot – or worse, chooses not – to defend its borders will soon cease to be a sovereign nation. The Trump Administration is committed to enforcing our immigration laws – whether persons are part of this ‘caravan’ or not.
“If members of the ‘caravan’ enter the country illegally, they will be referred for prosecution for illegal entry in accordance with existing law. For those seeking asylum, all individuals may be detained while their claims are adjudicated efficiently and expeditiously, and those found not to have a claim will be promptly removed from the United States.
“DHS, in partnership with DOJ, is taking a number of steps to ensure that all cases and claims are adjudicated promptly – including sending additional USCIS asylum officers, ICE attorneys, DOJ Immigration Judges, and DOJ prosecutors to the Southern border.
“Again, if you enter the United States illegally, let me be clear: you have broken the law. And we will enforce the law through prosecution of illegal border crossers.
“DHS encourages persons with asylum or other similar claims to seek protections in the first safe country they enter, including Mexico. While we are committed to doing everything we can on the border to secure our nation, we need Congress to do their job as well. I join the President in asking Congressional leadership to work with the Administration to pass legislation to close the legal loopholes that prevent us from securing our borders and protecting Americans. I stand ready to work with any member who in good faith seeks to support DHS’s mission and secure our country.”
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