Homeland Security Network Blog
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DHS chief Kirstjen Nielsen: 600 convicted criminals are hiding in migrant caravans
by Anna Giaritelli
More than 600 members of the 10,000 migrants traveling from Central America to the U.S. are convicted criminals, the country's top security official said Monday evening.
In a Facebook post defending U.S. Customs and Border Protection's handling of a large group of people who attempted to run over the U.S.-Mexico border Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said a significant number of those migrants were known as criminals in their countries of origin.
"[W]e cannot confirm the backgrounds and identities of all caravan members which possess a national security and public safety risk to our country. However, at this point we have confirmed that there are over 600 convicted criminals traveling with the caravan flow. This includes individuals known to law enforcement for assault, battery, drug crimes, burglary, rape, child abuse and more. This is serious," Nielsen wrote. "Additionally, Mexico has already arrested 100 caravan members for criminal violations in Mexico."
For weeks, the Trump administration has claimed criminals and other people who are not from Central America, including Middle Easterners, were among the caravan groups, which U.S. officials say are comprised mostly of adult men.
Last week, NBC News reported DHS had paid informants embedded within the caravan groups, which began arriving in northern Mexican towns two weeks ago. The report also said the government has been reading messages migrants are sending through messaging app WhatsApp to learn where they are headed and how they might plan to illegally enter the country if they do not wait in Mexico while applying for asylum in the U.S.