The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defines a refugee as a person who has a well-founded fear or has been persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. In order to be granted asylum, a person must meet this definition.

The United States has been a global leader in resettling refugees. Since 1975 we have welcomed more than three million refugees, who now reside in all 50 states. There are now 2.6 million refugees living in camps throughout the world. The UNHCR has not established any camps in Mexico, which would lead one to believe that people traveling through Mexico to seek asylum in the United States are not truly refugees.

The current situation along our southwestern border is a mess because people are using the asylum process to subvert the system. Undoubtedly, people living in countries with a high degree of poverty or crime want to come to the United States because of the freedom and opportunities that exist here. If these individuals really have a fear or are being persecuted and meet the definition of a refugee, they would be seeking refuge in the first country they enter, Mexico.

Our immigration system is broken and it is apparent Congress doesn’t want to fix it. As long as partisan politics exist, nothing will be done. A sovereign nation must secure its borders, encourage legal immigration and uphold its liberties, freedoms and opportunities.

Les Klinefelter


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