Strong immigration laws could protect people well beyond the borders of the United States, according to United States Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
McAleenan has been overseeing the U.S. southern border where more than 7,000 migrants have gathered near Tijuana, Mexico.
The caravan formed in Honduras and gathered thousands of Central American migrants as it made its way north toward the United States. Mexico has offered asylum to the members of the caravan, but many are still trying to make their way to the United States.
This is in large part because the caravan organizers promised them they could get into the U.S. and stay there as their asylum case was heard.
As McAleenan told Fox News, many of the migrants were “lured” to the United States because they were promised entry because of weak laws — even though many of them do not qualify for amnesty.
McAleenan explained how weak laws put “vulnerable” migrant families at risk.
“We’ve got a challenging and still potentially volatile situation in Tiajuana. We’ve got over 7,000 migrants there. They were well organized. They were brought to the border by a group that told them they would be able to cross easily into the U.S. to present asylum claims and that’s not the case.”
McAleenan noted that the migrants’ confusion at the border has left many desperately looking for a way to cross the border illegally. Recently, a security camera showed a family dropping their six kids 18 feet over the border wall to America soil, only to be picked up by border patrol agents and returned to the other side.
#CBP #YumaSector camera operators observe two small children being dropped off an 18 foot wall by a suspected smuggler near San Luis, Arizona. One child received an injury to the face. #SouthwestBorder #NationalSecurity Details: https://t.co/r4tyZd9uzS pic.twitter.com/WwX1Wc5jlG
— CBP Arizona (@CBPArizona) December 4, 2018
This problem, according to McAleenan, stems from weak immigration laws in the U.S. leading migrant families to believe that they cross the border when they don’t have valid asylum claims.
“Since that caravan formed in mid-October, we’ve seen 90,000 people come to our border, 85 percent of those crossing illegally between ports of entry, and all lured by the fact that our legal framework has huge gaps that create the opportunity to stay in the U.S. while awaiting your court hearing, even if they don’t have a lawful permission or protection claim.”
McAleenan also noted that criminals leading these caravans give the migrants misleading information about the muddy asylum process in the U.S., meaning they profit off migrant families because of the weak immigration laws.
“We’ve got criminal organizations profiting off of vulnerable families charging 5,000 to 7,000 per person,” said McAleenan. “That a 2.5 billion dollar business of exploitation. We’ve got to stop it.”
McAleenan also stated that he sees the border wall funding as “critical” to preventing future situations similar to this one. The decision on funding will have to be made within the next few weeks to avoid a government shutdown.