November 01, 2018

Grassley Seeks Briefings on Security Threats Relating to Migrant Caravan

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sought briefings from the Departments of State and Homeland Security on potential national security threats relating to the migrant caravan headed toward the southern border in a letter this week.
 
In his letter, Grassley specifically seeks updated background details about the individuals in the caravan, including the criminal histories or gang affiliation of any migrants in the caravan.
 
“…it is important that the Committee is briefed on details on the makeup of the caravan including any potential national security threats that reportedly exist among the members. According to information obtained by my office, several members of the first caravan have significant criminal histories, including assault and sexual misconduct against a child, and membership in the MS-13 gang,” Grassley wrote. “Further, the Department of Homeland Security recently reported that several hundred members of the second caravan clashed with Mexican federal police throwing rocks, glass bottles, and even fireworks at Mexican officers in a seemingly criminal altercation.”
 
Full text of Grassley’s letter to Secretaries Pompeo and Nielsen follows.
 
October 30, 2018
 
VIA ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION
 
The Honorable Kirstjen Nielsen
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
 
The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Secretary
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
 
Dear Secretaries Nielsen and Pompeo:
 
The Committee continues to monitor and assess the approximately 6,000 member caravans traveling to the United States southern border from the Northern Triangle. As the first caravan is reportedly 1-2 days from the United States, it is important that the Committee is briefed on details on the makeup of the caravan including any potential national security threats that reportedly exist among the members. According to information obtained by my office, several members of the first caravan have significant criminal histories, including assault and sexual misconduct against a child, and membership in the MS-13 gang. Further, the Department of Homeland Security recently reported that several hundred members of the second caravan clashed with Mexican federal police throwing rocks, glass bottles, and even fireworks at Mexican officers in a seemingly criminal altercation.
 
Information on these groups will help the Committee address the needs of vulnerable asylum-seekers who need humanitarian relief and those Homeland Security officials tasked with processing people at our border, while preventing the entry of caravan members who are national security threats, such as members of transnational criminal organizations.
 
Therefore, please provide a briefing by the DHS Human Smuggling Cell and the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, as well as current details on the number of migrants in both caravans who have expressed a desire to seek asylum in the United States, the number of migrants who have sought asylum in Mexico, and the country of origin, criminal history, and age of all caravan members who have been encountered by the Mexican National Institute of Migration.
 
Thank you for your attention in this important matter.  Should you have any questions, please contact Katherine Nikas or Aakash Singh of my Committee staff at 202-224-5225.
 
 
                                                                        Sincerely,
 
                                                                                    Charles E. Grassley
                                                                                    Chairman
                                                                                    Committee on the Judiciary
 
cc:
 
Dianne Feinstein
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
 
 

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