Thousands of Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans are walking toward our border with the objective of entering our country. These caravans should concern all Americans, for they willingly use force to cross borders. 

By U.S. Code those in the caravans are aliens – “any person not a citizen or national of the United States.” 

By the Immigration and Nationality Act they are not immigrants because they must be in the U.S. to obtain that status.

They are not refugees because that status can be conferred only by going through procedures required by U.S. law. Aliens may seek asylum “because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” Note that poverty, corruption and gang activity are not included in the grounds to gain asylum. 

Webster defines invade/invasion as “to enter in large numbers, especially with intrusive effect,” “an incursion by a large number of people … into a place or sphere of activity,” “to encroach upon in a way that violates law.” Violence is considered to be “an intrusive intent.” 

There is video evidence of people in the caravans smashing their way through barriers to gain entrance to Mexico. The Mexican ambassador has stated that many in the group are “very violent.”      

It is a crime to enter the country illegally. When a mass of people attempt to cross our border illegally – as was done in Mexico – that demonstrates intent and action “to enter (the country) in large numbers … with intrusive effect.” In other words, it becomes an invasion.

For decades the U.S. government has provided millions of dollars to Honduras and Guatemala to stem the tide of violence and drug trafficking, improve public administration, strengthen the justice system and provide economic opportunities.

Nevertheless, Honduras and Guatemala remain poverty-ravaged, crime-ridden, corruption-ladened and gang-infested. 

While we sympathize with the plight of the people in those countries, we have laws regarding how aliens can seek asylum.      

Our country has welcomed the tired, poor and “huddled masses yearning to be free” when they have complied with our laws – 1.49 million in 2016 alone.

The president has indisputable legal authority to turn away individuals from the border based on his determination that entry “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” 

Democrats are making this a partisan issue, but previously they had an entirely different view.

In 2005, Sen. Obama stated: “We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently and lawfully to become immigrants into this country.” 

In 2008, House Speaker Pelosi said that we need to address “the challenge we have of undocumented people in our country. We certainly do not want any more coming in.”

In 2009, Sen. Schumer stated: “First illegal immigration is wrong (and we must) dramatically curtail future illegal immigration.”

Democrats blast Trump for wanting to enforce our laws with which they previously agreed. Obama now characterizes Trump’s concerns as “fear mongering.” Because Democrats have offered no solutions to deal with the thousands headed toward our border, they remain silent except to claim that the president is using the threat as a “political ploy” and to label his effort to protect our borders a “stunt.”

If you believe that the 25 million people who live in Honduras and Guatemala have a right to enter the U.S. regardless of current law or by force, vote Democrat.

If you believe our borders should be protected from alien invasion, vote Republican.

Rich Kiper is a Leavenworth Times columnist.