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Congressional watchdogs say 'hundreds' of criminal migrants headed to US in caravans

President Trump was roundly criticized for saying caravans contained criminals

PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images

"Hundreds" of criminal migrants are currently headed toward America's southern border, according to data obtained by elected government watchdogs.

In a Thursday letter obtained by Blaze Media, Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee told acting Department of Homeland Security chief Kevin McAleenan that "data provided to the Committee shows that hundreds of migrants approaching the southern border have criminal histories."

The letter — which was signed by GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio), Mark Meadows (N.C.), Chip Roy (Texas), and others — goes on to detail that documents provided by the department to the committee have shown that previous migrant caravans did indeed contain dangerous criminals, but that the criminal threat is also true of incoming columns.

"In October 2018, CBP's Office of Intelligence tracked one caravan estimated to include nearly 8,000 individuals that arrived south of California in December 2018," it reads. "ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) established that 660 of these individuals had U.S. criminal convictions — nearly 40 were convicted of assault or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Three individuals were convicted of murder."

The message goes on to say that in January, immigration authorities "tracked a caravan that departed Honduras with more than 3,300 individuals" and that "ICE HSI identified 860 individuals with U.S. criminal histories, including over 20 convicted of assault or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, nearly 30 convicted of sexual offenses, two convicted of violence against law enforcement, and one convicted of attempted murder."

In the fall 2018, President Donald Trump took considerable criticism for his claims "without evidence" that large groups of illegal immigrants coming from central America contained hardened criminals. The evidence contained in Thursday's letter is in stark contrast to those criticisms.

The letter also notes that "these incidents are continuing" and that "CBP is currently monitoring another 'movement of several groups ranging in size from 1,000 to 4,000' in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Veracruz." However, it continues, "the documents did not specify how many migrants are believed to have criminal records."

This information comes after months of consistently record-breaking apprehension numbers at the U.S.-Mexico border that have led to grossly overburdened federal immigration officials and growing public health concerns over the border crisis.

In order to "assist our oversight of the crisis at the southern border and better understand the threat posed by the large caravans," Republicans signing Thursday's letter also requested information DHS might have about arrest warrants and court documents related to caravan migrants, updates on how the department is keeping tabs on incoming caravans, and intelligence summaries "referring or relating to the repatriation of caravan members with an extensive criminal record" going back to 2014.

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