A new report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says that there are hundreds of convicted criminals or known gang members traveling in the migrant caravan that is traveling through Mexico to the U.S. southern border.
DHS released the report on Thursday in response to questions the department has received about the caravan, stating, "We continue to be concerned about individuals along the caravan route."
"In fact, over 270 individuals along the caravan route have criminal histories, including known gang membership," DHS reported. "Those include a number of violent criminals – examples include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, sexual assault on a child, and assault on a female."
"Mexican officials have also publicly stated that criminal groups have infiltrated the caravan," the statement continued. "We also continue to see individuals from over 20 countries in this flow from countries such as Somalia, India, Haiti, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. There is a large segment of this population that we know nothing about and we must be prepared to defend our border and enforce our laws to protect the citizens of our country."
DHS's report also included an October 29 statement from the Mexican ambassador to the U.S., who described some of the caravan members as "very violent," saying, "Unfortunately, some of the people in the caravan have been very violent against authority, even though they have offered the possibility of entering in compliance with immigration law and refugee status."
The report says that the caravan "is employing tactics to push women and children to the front to act as human shields as the caravan pushes against its military forces."
The report also contained a statement from Mexican Interior Minister Navarrete Prida, who confirmed that criminal organization are embedded in the caravan, saying, "I have videos from Guatemala that show men dressed in identical clothing, sporting the same haircuts, handing out money to women to persuade them to move to the front of the caravan. … We know, for a fact, that some members of the caravan threatened [Mexican] Migration Institute personnel and we have images showing many of them preparing Molotov cocktails."
The Trump administration has focused heavily on illegal immigration for the upcoming midterms and has released campaign ads highlighting the caravans and crimes committed by illegal aliens.