Monday, I led a group of California pastors to the San Diego border sector to see firsthand what's actually happening on our southern border. It was an eye-opening experience for the pastors, as it was for me when I made my first trip to border last year. While there's no denying that there was a crisis at the border last year when thousands tried to enter the U.S. illegally or gain asylum, the liberal and media's narrative is a far cry from reality.
The men and women working under the umbrella of Homeland Security on the border are there to do one job -- keep America safe. Among those agents on the border are believers who not only understand the importance of the rule of law, but also the fact that every human being is created in the image of God and worthy of compassion and respect.
The other reality is how President Trump's policies and determination have, in large part, stemmed the tide of illegal immigration. Through the president's hardball negotiations with Mexico, our southern neighbor has become a partner in guarding the border and limiting the flow of those seeking asylum in the U.S. As a result, the number of people trying to cross into America illegally has dramatically dropped -- for the eighth month in a row. Now, with more than 100 miles of the wall complete, Mark Morgan, the acting head of Customs and Border Protection, announced that "U.S. officials apprehended or deemed 'inadmissible' 36,679 migrants in January, a drop of 10 percent just from December." Amazingly, that's a 75 percent decrease from the 13-year high last May (144,116).
I have appealed to the president to ensure the U.S. provide the opportunity for those legitimately seeking asylum because of persecution can still find refuge in our country. That said, asylum should not be used as a loophole to come into the country and remain illegally. The numbers show that less than 20 percent of those seeking asylum meet the criteria and are granted asylum.
We saw the new double barrier that is being constructed that agents say, combined with other policy changes, is working. While we still must address the underlying problems in our immigration policy, the Trump administration -- despite opposition from Congress -- has made tremendous gains in securing our border, in a manner that upholds justice and compassion.