By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
The migrant caravan at our country’s southern border has taken a violent turn. The caravan of 8,500 individuals moving through Mexico have made several attempts to infiltrate our borders and attack law enforcement officers who are protecting law-abiding citizens. Many migrants are claiming asylum from the violence of their home countries. But some migrants are throwing rocks and bottles at law enforcement officers, rushing the border, and cutting border fences. This behavior is simply unacceptable from individuals who claim to want to be a part of the United States.
The United States is not against immigration. We, as Americans, embrace the fact that our country is a melting pot of people, culture, and ideas. Our country admits roughly one million legal immigrants each year—and has done so for the last 13 years. However, our generosity should never be taken for granted.
Protecting our southern border is more than an immigration issue—it is a matter of national security. The Department of Homeland Security has identified more than 600 convicted criminals as a part of the 8,500 member caravan. Meanwhile, the Mexican government has already arrested 100 caravan members for criminal activity. The individuals charging our borders do not possess values respected by the U.S. nor do they appear to have a willingness to acquire values like ours.
According to U.S. Asylum law, individuals legitimately fleeing their home country must apply for Affirmative Asylum or Defensive Asylum through the U.S. government. Historically, the vast majority of the migrants claiming asylum as they storm our border are not actually eligible. In the past, federal judges ruled that 90% of individuals from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador were not eligible to enter the U.S. under asylum. Many of these asylum seekers intend to find work or join family who are already in the U.S. Though both worthy aspirations, reuniting with family and job searching are not grounds for asylum.
The bottom line is that we cannot reward bad behavior. In order to be an American citizen, one must pledge to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. Individuals seeking to become citizens of our great nation should be held to the same standard. They should not be held above the rule of law that the rest of the nation’s law-abiding citizens follow.