According to Politico, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen had a stern message on "Fox News Sunday" for the members of the migrant caravan who are headed for the southern border: "Do not come. You will not be allowed in."
What's the back story?
A large caravan of migrants — most recent estimates put its size at over 7,000 members — has been traveling through Mexico after leaving central America. Many of the migrants are fleeing unrest and violence that has gripped Central America. Their flight through Mexico has become a hot-button political issue in the closing days of the 2018 midterms.
President Trump — joined by most Republicans — has insisted that that caravan cannot enter the United States, and has suggested that the caravan contains violent criminals and possible terrorists.
Democrats, meanwhile, have criticized President Trump's handling of the caravan and many insist that the caravan members should be given asylum.
By law and treaty, immigrants who claim asylum are supposed to be entitled to proceedings to determine if they truly have a "credible fear" of death or serious bodily harm if they are forced to return to their native country. The Trump administration has made clear, however, that it intends to deny asylum for at least the vast majority of caravan members.
What's the context for Nielsen's remarks?
The Mexican government initially attempted to prevent the caravan from passing the southern border of Mexico, but has now begun to offer some of the caravan members asylum in Mexico.
Noting this, Neilsen stated on Sunday, "Mexico has offered them asylum — in some cases, they have refused. Mexico has offered them work permits — in some cases, they have refused." Nielsen concluded by encouraging caravan members to seek asylum in Mexico, rather than the United States, saying, "Mexico has offered you refuge. If you want a job, that is not asylum. If you want to be reunited with your family, that is not asylum. If you want to just come live in the United States, that is not asylum."
The United States has deployed a number of troops to the border to help prevent the caravan from reaching the United States, and Neilsen assured Fox News viewers that DHS is prepared to intercept the caravan without trouble, stating, "Frankly, we essentially see caravans every day with these numbers."
As of latest reports, the caravan is still around 1,000 miles from the nearest U.S. border crossing in Texas.