Gang Members, Criminals Are Part of Migrant Caravan, Officials Confirm

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
October 24, 2018 Updated: October 24, 2018

Gang members and criminals are part of the migrant caravan currently in Mexico and heading north to the United States, U.S. officials said.

Tyler Houlton, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) press secretary, said in a statement on Oct. 23 that “DHS can confirm that there are individuals within the caravan who are gang members or have significant criminal histories.”

The caravan currently has between 7,000 and 10,000 people, according to the latest estimates, and is working its way north after starting in Honduras and crossing into Guatemala, then Mexico. A second caravan of more than 1,000 people is in Guatemala and heading to Mexico.

“Citizens of countries outside Central America, including countries in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and elsewhere are currently traveling through Mexico toward the U.S.,” Houlton added. The department previously noted that 17,256 known criminals were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in the fiscal year 2018 and that more than 3,000 so-called special interest aliens, from countries such as Pakistan, were blocked from entering America illegally.

Migrant Caravan Crosses Into Mexico
A migrant caravan walks into the interior of Mexico after crossing the Guatemalan border near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico on Oct. 21, 2018. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The confirmation comes after President Donald Trump said on Oct. 22 that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in” the caravan. “I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergency. Must change laws!” he added.

Most of the people in the caravan are from Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala. But reporters on the ground, embedded in the caravan, said that a number of people from outside those countries are also traveling with the group, including Bangladeshis, Haitians, and Angolans.

migrant caravan map
(Associated Press)

Sara Carter, a Fox News contributor who has also been traveling with the caravan, said that Guatemalan intelligence discovered people from India, Bangladesh, and Africa in the Caravan. “I bumped into a number of young MS-13 gang members,” she said, referring to the violent gang known for its obscene ways of killing people.

Most in the caravan can be considered criminals, since they crossed illegally into Mexico from Guatemala, ignoring requests from Mexican officials to proceed through the border checkpoint and apply for asylum.

‘Financed by Venezuela’

Caravan members have said the caravan isn’t organized, but U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Oct. 23, that the President of Honduras told him that Venezuela might be behind the caravan.

“He told me that the caravan that’s now making its way through Mexico headed for the southern border was organized by leftist organizations and financed by Venezuela,” Pence said.

Addressing people criticizing Trump’s statement about “unknown Middle Easterners,” Pence added that with so many people in the caravan, it’s hard to imagine terrorists not being among them.

“It’s inconceivable that there are not people of Middle Eastern descent in a crowd of more than 7,000 people advancing toward our border,” Pence said.

“In the last fiscal year, we apprehended more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists per day at our southern border from countries that are referred to in the lexicon as ‘other than Mexico’—that means from the Middle East region.”


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Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.