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Homeland Security monitoring migrant caravan texts, has paid undercover informants

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Migrants rest inside a temporary migrant shelter next to the U.S.-Mexico border on November 17, 2018 in Tijuana, Mexico. Parts of the migrant caravan have been arriving to Tijuana after traveling more than a month through Central America and Mexico to reach the U.S. border. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring text messages sent within the Central American migrant caravans, and has undercover paid informants in the caravans gathering information, according to NBC News.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman would not confirm or deny the report in a statement:

"While not commenting on sources or methods, it would be malpractice for the United States to be ignorant about the migrants — including many criminals — attempting to enter our country. We have an obligation to ensure we know who is crossing our borders to protect against threats to the Homeland and any indication to the contrary is misinformed."

How they're monitoring texts: Migrants have apparently been communicating throughout their journey using the messaging app WhatsApp. DHS officials have been able to join group text threads to view these communications.

What information they're getting: The intercepted texts along with the information from undercover informants has led DHS to act to prevent at least one potential plot to illegally cross the border. DHS said Monday that it received word of a plan for migrants to run across the border in car lanes, which the agency closed in response.

What's going on with the caravans now? Thousands of migrants are waiting in Tijuana, Mexico, to see whether they will be granted asylum in the United States. However, due to the volume of migrants, many of them could be waiting months for their answer.

Additionally, the U.S. won't let them wait on the American side of the border, so they're stuck in Tijuana where many residents are not happy about the sudden massive number of visitors.

Trump administration dealt a blow: Judge Jon Tigar of San Francisco added a variable to the situation Tuesday, blocking the Trump administration from denying asylum to people who enter the U.S. illegally.

"Whatever the scope of the President's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden," Tigar wrote in his decision.

 

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