The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday it can confirm that gang members and males from the Middle East and Asia are in the caravan headed for the United States that began in Honduras.
DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton said “there are individuals within the caravan who are gang members or have significant criminal histories.”
“Citizens of countries outside Central America, including countries in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and elsewhere are currently traveling through Mexico toward the U.S.,” he said.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Tuesday his team with the caravan found citizens from Asia and the Middle East, mostly young men, and indications the caravan was organized from the outside.
The Judicial Watch team believes Americans are likely involved in the financing, Fitton said, and he wants President Trump to investigate.
Investigative reporter Sara Carter, who is in Guatemala, found it’s mostly men crossing the Guatemalan border. She said they are giving a rehearsed answer: “This is not politics – this is about poverty.”
“There were women and children but they were at the front of the caravan (smaller numbers). None would say who the organizers are but several said it was organized,” she tweeted Tuesday.
Carter, noted the Gateway Pundit, met with the Guatemalan Minister of Defense on Tuesday.
“Based on the interviews I’ve conducted so far – along with Judicial Watch investigations – the U.S. needs to investigate the funding that was used by NGOs, as well as other groups to organize the caravans,” Carter wrote.
Judicial Watch said Tuesday that besides “gang members and mobs of young angry men,” the caravan also consists of Africans, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Indians.
Judicial Watch said its team embedded with the caravan has observed that “the popular mainstream media narrative of desperate migrants – many of them women and children – seeking a better life is hardly accurate.”
‘No one can engineer an exodus’
Migrants in the caravan have said their intent is to seek political asylum in the United States. Asylum seekers are required to demonstrate they have a reasonable fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, national origin, political opinion or membership in a social group.
Guatemalan intelligence officials, according to Judicial Watch, confirmed that the caravan that originated in the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula includes Special Interest Aliens, or SIA, from other continents as well as other criminal elements and gang members.
Judicial Watch said there are “large groups of men, some with criminal histories, aggressively demanding that the U.S. take them in.”
Many migrants who say the are fleeing gang violence and poverty have told media they learned about the caravan through social media, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
“I had been waiting for a way to get north, and then I heard about the caravan,” said Ediberto Fuentes, 30, who had fled Honduras for southern Mexico but became stranded for months.
He said he didn’t have the money to pay for a smuggler to travel to the United States.
The San Antonio paper spoke with the director of the Tijuana-based Pueblos Sin Fronteras, which has advocated for this and previous caravans, including helping arrange the routes and other logistics.
But Irineo Mujica insisted the current caravan has taken on a life of its own.
“Everyone wants to know who is guilty, who is behind this,” he said. “But no one has the power to organize this many people. No one can engineer an exodus.”
The Express-News said that by mid-October, social media and news media coverage “prompted an explosion in the number of migrants. ”
“Within days of the caravan’s departure from San Pedro Sula on Oct. 13, almost no one could pin down the group’s official origin story,” the paper said. “They could cite only the Facebook post or television program that led to their own decision to migrate.”
‘We need money and food’
Judicial Watch said that during a visit to the Guatemalan town of Chiquimula, about 35 miles from the Honduran border, its team encountered a “rowdy group” of about 600 men, ages 17 to about 40, marching north on a narrow two-lane highway.
Among them was a 40-year-old Honduran man who previously lived in the United States for decades and was deported. Another man, in his 30s, declared: “We’re going to the United States to get jobs.”
Others chanted “vamos para allá Trump!” – “We’re coming Trump” – as they clenched their fists in the air.
“We need money and food,” said a 29-year-old man who made the trek with his 21-year-old brother.
Judicial Watch said that all of the migrants it interviewed repeated the same rehearsed line when asked who organized the caravan.
They insisted it was a spontaneous event, Judicial Watch said, “even though there were clearly organizers shouting instructions in Spanish and putting select persons in front of cameras for interviews.”
A few claimed they heard about it on local news in Honduras. All said the caravan was about poverty, not politics.
“I just want to get back to the U.S.,” said a 32-year-old man who admitted he has been deported from the U.S. twice. “We are all just looking for work.”
See Judicial Watch interview with 40-year-old Honduran who previously lived in U.S.:
Honduran president: Left trying to destabilize country
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, a conservative, said the left is seeking to destabilize his country by manipulating migrants.
Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday in an interview with the Washington Post that Hernández told him the caravan was financed by Venezuela’s left-wing government.
Hernández said women and children are being used without regard to the risks to their lives.
“The irregular mobilization was organized for political reasons to negatively affect the governance and image of Honduras and to destabilize the peace of neighboring countries,” he said.
The Honduran president said many who joined the caravan have returned to Honduras after realizing they had been fooled.
Guatemalan officials said 1,700 migrants have been returned to Honduras on buses. Government sources said first wave of migrants totaled about 4,000. A second, less organized, group of about 2,000 then set out for the U.S.
Guatemalan Secretary of Strategic Intelligence Mario Duarte said his country needs help to stop the human caravans.
“There are only so many resources we can dedicate to this.”
He said Guatemalans are getting robbed and crimes are being committed by the people in the caravan.