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Jesse Ventura on the border crisis: The children are refugees, not 'illegals'

It seems as if immigration is back in the news after the number of illegal immigrant minors have crossed the border in record numbers into the United States. President Obama and both political parties seem to have a different view on how to handle the border crisis, but no one seems to have any concrete solutions.

Jesse Ventura on the border crisis
Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

Since October of 2013, NPR reports that over 52,000 children have crossed the border from Central America into the United States and have been taken into government custody. That number is nearly twice what the previous year's totals were, and 10 times the amount compared to 2009. Tackling this latest immigration story was former governor of Minnesota and current host of "Off the Grid" on, Jesse Ventura. On Thursday's episode titled "Dived We Fall: The Border Crisis," when asked straight up about the current border crisis, Ventura quickly stated that the children shouldn't be considered "illegal aliens," but rather refugees.

"Should the possibility be looked at that these children are indeed refugees? That they are not just illegal "aliens" trying to infiltrate the United States. Do you think maybe they are running up here to give, to safe their own lives because they are frightened where they are living at? 50,000 of them? I've crossed our borders. 50,000 of them can invade this massive fencing we have and all these border patrol agents that we are already spending billions of dollars on? Again, maybe we should be looking at the underlying fact about why these children are coming here, and maybe we should treat them as refugees rather than illegal aliens."

Ventura then turned his attention to the alleged security at the board. The former governor has spoken in the past about his support for open borders, but was quick to criticize the effectiveness of the government when it comes to border security. Ventura stated that if tax dollars were going to be used to secure the border, shouldn't they at least know how to do it correctly?

"Children can make it across our security? If a child can infiltrate this country, a terrorist ought to be able to also. What have we been paying Homeland Security for ? And why do we even have something called Homeland Security? If 50,000 kids can enter the "secure" United States. Don't get me wrong, i'm not necessarily for this lock-down of American we are talking about here, but maybe of the people in this country somehow think nobody should come here that's not invited and all that, and I think I will state this...We as white people, and I'm including myself, seem to forget that we were immigrants once too. I think if you talk to the Native Americans, we came here without papers. I think we white people were 'illegal aliens' when we arrived here back in 1492. And now we white people have something in our heads that 'gee, if enough these brown skin people come up here, we could end up a minority."'

Making note of the fear many Americans have of illegal immigrants, Ventura spoke from the heart and channeled his own personal experience of living in Mexico for much of the last decade.

"They are wonderful people. They eat the same, they love their children the same. They do everything the same as we do. So there's nothing to fear from them. Take my word for it, I live among them and I don't even know their language."

Over in the "Off the Grid" command center, producer Alex Logan highlighted the positive effect that immigrants have on the United States economy. According to the Pew Research Center, there are 8.4 unauthorized immigrants working in the United States, which makes up 5.2 percent of the total workforce population. Additional research from The Hill notes what the National Milk Producers Federation stated in 2009, that if the immigrant labor force were to be eliminated, the cost of milk would increase by over 60 percent, a jump from $3.50 a gallon, to $5.60. Logan pointed to a New York Times article that showed undocumented worked contributed nearly $300 billion to the Social Security trust fund, roughly about 10 percent.

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