Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday warned that the federal government is prepared to prosecute Central American immigrants from a caravan planning to cross the U.S. border this weekend.
Nielsen said in a statement that the Homeland Security Department is monitoring the caravan’s movements, and “is doing everything within our authorities to secure our borders and enforce the law.”
“Let me be clear: We will enforce the immigration laws as set forth by Congress,” she said.
“If you enter our country illegally, you have broken the law and will be referred for prosecution. If you make a false immigration claim, you have broken the law and will be referred for prosecution. If you assist or coach an individual in making a false immigration claim, you have broken the law and will be referred for prosecution.”
“DHS, in partnership with DOJ, has taken a number of steps to ensure the necessary resources are in place to promptly adjudicate all cases and claims, through either our civil immigration system or through criminal prosecution, consistent with our laws.
“Individuals of the ‘caravan’ seeking asylum or other similar claims should seek protections in the first safe country they enter, including Mexico.
“The smugglers, traffickers, and criminals understand our legal loopholes better than Congress and are effectively exploiting them to their advantage. This President fully understands the threat this poses to Americans and has been crystal clear since the beginning of his Administration that we will protect our borders and our sovereignty.”