Homeland chief warns immigrant caravan: ‘We will enforce the immigration laws’

Homeland chief warns immigrant caravan: ‘We will enforce the immigration laws’
© Greg Nash

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenActing DHS secretary says he expects Russia to attempt to interfere in 2020 elections House Homeland Security rip DHS's 'unacceptable' failure to comply with subpoena Trump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report MORE on Wednesday warned that the federal government is prepared to prosecute Central American migrants 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.

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"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."

Nielsen urged the migrants not to carry on into the U.S., saying that they should seek protection in the first country they entered since leaving their homes, including in Mexico.

Nielsen's comments came as the caravan of migrants arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border

The first batch of asylum seekers are expected to try to enter the U.S. at a border crossing near San Diego on Sunday, The Associated Press reported. The group is mostly women and children. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE has railed against the caravan in recent weeks. He tweeted on Monday that he had instructed the Homeland Security Department to repel migrants attempting to cross the border.

"Despite the Democrat inspired laws on Sanctuary Cities and the Border being so bad and one sided, I have instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security not to let these large Caravans of people into our Country. It is a disgrace," he tweeted. "We are the only Country in the World so naive!"