Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Sunday said the migrant caravan marching through Mexico to the U.S. is “not getting in.”
“There a legal way to get into this country. Those who choose to enter illegally will be stopped,” Ms. Nielsen told Fox News Sunday.
Tens of thousands of migrants, including as many as 7,000 that are part of the latest migrant caravan, have been streaming north hoping to exploit lax enforcement of U.S. laws to gain a foothold here.
One common tactic is to claim fear of being sent home, which if approved can earn them a chance to claim asylum. They are usually immediately released to give them the chance at full asylum — though half never bother to follow through, disappearing instead into the shadows as illegal immigrants, and others skip out on their hearings and likewise disappear.
Ms. Nielsen said the caravan is one iteration of a “crisis” on the border, and that President Trump is keeping every authority on the table to prevent illegal immigration.
Yet she refused to signal whether the president plans to close off the border to people seeking asylum, perhaps involving powers similar to his “travel ban” on select, predominantly Muslim countries.
“My general message to this caravan is, ‘Do not come. You will not be allowed in,’” she said. “There is a right way to emigrate to this country, and this is not it.”
Ms. Nielsen said persons in the caravan should seek asylum in Mexico first, as they flow north.
• Stephen Dinan contributed to this report.