Twitter blasts DHS spokesman for saying migrant caravan includes criminals, gang members

A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson tweeted on Tuesday that the caravan of Central American migrants making their way to the U.S. included criminals and “gang members.” Commenters blasted the spokesperson for broadcasting the statement without evidence.

DHS Press Secretary Tyler Q. Houlton said in a tweet that the agency “can confirm that 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.,” Houlton said in another tweet.

CNN reports that another DHS spokesperson, Katie Waldman, “clarified that the tweet about non-Central American migrants does refer to the caravan specifically.”

Houlton’s statement doubles down on remarks made by President Donald Trump, who on Monday tweeted that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in” with the group of immigrants. Politifact reports that between 5,000 and 7,000 people, mostly from Guatemala and Honduras, are believed to be traveling with the caravan. Many are reportedly seeking asylum in the U.S.

An ABC News crew traveling with the caravan reports that it has “seen no evidence to support the president’s claim.”

Houlton’s tweets were met with derision. People, including members of the media, lambasted the spokesperson for making the claim about people traveling with the caravan without evidence.

According to CNN, more than 2,700 of the migrants traveling with the caravan have filed for asylum in Mexico. The rest are expected to continue to travel north.

Trump on Tuesday was reportedly weighing the option of sending military presence aside from the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We’re not going to allow these people to come into our country,” Trump said, according to CNN. “You have to come in legally and you have to come in through merit.”

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Kris Seavers

Kris Seavers

Kris Seavers is the IRL editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.