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President Barack Obama has called for a pause in the flow of immigrants, saying it is dangerous for those who have committed crimes to come to America.
Obama made the comments as he was in Miami, Florida, where he is attending the annual American Academy of Pediatrics meeting.
The president has called on Congress to pass legislation to prevent immigration from countries with high crime rates.
“We should all be concerned that we are seeing people who have a history of violent crime coming into our country, who are now committing violent crimes,” Obama said during a news conference Friday.
He also said the country has become a “police state.”
“We need to recognize that people who commit crimes, if they come here legally, they have a right to live and work here,” Obama added.
A recent Pew Research Center study found that crime rates in major U.S. cities have risen sharply since 2014.
Since Obama took office, nearly 2,000 immigrants have been charged with crimes, including nearly 400 homicides, according to a report by the Justice Department.
Immigrants make up almost 10 percent of the nation’s population but account for more than a quarter of all violent crimes.
The study found nearly half of all people arrested in 2015 had been convicted of a violent crime.
More than one in five U.N. agencies say they are currently unable to enforce visa laws in certain countries, including India, Pakistan, Venezuela and China, according in a report released this week.