Guatemalan officials previously said when the caravan violently forced its way into Mexico that the caravan used babies, women, and elderly persons as human shields.
Officials have said that at least 75 percent of the caravan are fighting-age males while some reports indicated that many of the migrants who have accepted Mexico's asylum offers have been women with children.
Wouldn't Qualify for AsylumNielsen also noted that most of the caravan members wouldn't qualify for asylum.
"The overwhelming majority of these individuals are not eligible for asylum in the United States under our laws. Historically, less than 10 percent of those who claim asylum from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are found eligible by a federal judge. 90 percent are not eligible," Nielsen added.
"Most of these migrants are seeking jobs or to join family who are already in the U.S. They have all refused multiple opportunities to seek protection in Mexico or with the United Nations. Seeking employment or family reunification are not grounds for asylum under our laws, or any international obligation," she continued.
Many of the migrants who have spoken to news agencies have said they're traveling to the United States for work or to escape gang violence, neither of which fall under asylum requirements.
600 Convicted CriminalsAs one of President Donald Trump's top Cabinet members, Nielsen also noted that her department has confirmed that there are over 600 convicted criminals traveling with one of the caravans, including people known for rape, drug crimes, and child abuse. There are 8,500 caravan members currently in Tijuana and Mexicali, with more on their way.
She pushed back against criticism that Border Patrol agents shouldn't have used tear gas to defend themselves from attacks.
"I refuse to believe that anyone honestly maintains that attacking law enforcement with rocks and projectiles is acceptable. It is shocking that I have to explain this, but officers can be seriously or fatally injured in such attacks. Self-defense isn’t debatable for most law-abiding Americans," she said.