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October 24, 2018
MS-13 members, terrorists could be among those in Central American migrant caravan

By AMI Newswire Staff

The massed migrants marching to the United States could include jihadist terrorists and gang members, according to reports from journalists following the migrants and Guatemalan authorities.

“Guatemalan intelligence discovered people from India, Bangladesh, Africa had also joined in with the caravan,” journalist Sara Carter Tweeted from Guatemala. “I bumped into a number of young MS 13 gang members.”

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales told American reporters that his country has detained roughly 100 terrorism suspects, some of whom were ISIS members. Morales reportedly made the comments during a speech at a conference in Washington D.C. over the weekend. “[W]e have not only detained [terrorists] within our territory, but they have been deported to their country of origin,” Morales said in reference to his efforts since taking office in 2016.

The caravan, which began in Honduras and passed through Guatemala before reach Mexico late last week, has attracted roughly 5,000 migrants (Mexican officials claim the number could be as high as 7,000) since it first mobilized as a movement protesting rampant violence and poverty in Central America as well as the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

With two weeks left until the contentious midterm election, President Trump has refused to remain silent about the U.S. bound caravan. Threatening to cut aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, the president stated that all three countries failed to stop the caravan.

“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S,” Trump said on Twitter. “We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them.”

Trump used the issue as a touchstone to push a GOTV effort, calling attention to Congressional Democrats’ views on immigration.

“Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws!,” Trump asserted. “Remember the Midterms!”

Characterizing the caravan as a national security threat, the president said “[c]riminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in.” He added that the issue is a national emergency that demands the attention of both border patrol and the military.

It’s unclear if ISIS operatives or “Middle Easterners” for that matter are among the caravan migrants. The president’s remarks came after several conservative media outlets reported that ISIS terrorists might be among the migrants and the Spanish-language television channel Univision reported that the caravan included a number of migrants from Bangladesh – a country which has contributed a large number of terrorists to ISIS and Al-Qaeda over the years.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday afternoon that she had evidence supporting the suggestion that terrorists are infiltrating the caravan to cross the U.S. border and possibly attack American citizens.

There have been no terror attacks on American soil linked to U.S.-Mexico border crossings. However a handful of cases before and after 9/11 demonstrate that Islamist terrorists have indeed attempted to smuggle operatives across the border.

“In 2001, Mahmoud Kourani was smuggled across the Mexican border and into the US in the trunk of a car,” reported the Christian Science Monitor in 2017. “According to federal court documents, Mr. Kourani was a member, fighter, and fundraiser for the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.”

The George W. Bush administration arrested and sentenced to 25 years in prison two Iranians who attempted to hire criminal gangs in Mexico to carry out an assassination of the Saudi ambassador to the United States in 2011.

Conversely, the Obama White House tried to publicly downplay the threat of ISIS attacks from across the border, administration officials placed law enforcement agents on a heightened state of alert to safeguard against smuggling operations. At the time, the Department of Homeland Security said in a written statement that there was “no credible intelligence to suggest that there is an active plot by ISIL to attempt to cross the southern border.”

Amassed in southern in Mexico, the migrants are now debating how to continue the excursion north. Caravan organizers appear wary about all the migrants remaining together as a unit, with most suggesting that they should split up into more manageable groups.

Meanwhile Department of Homeland Security officials are monitoring the development of a possible second migrant caravan in El Salvador, the country where the MS-13 network is based, that may soon depart for the United States.

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Thanks for being here and being a loyal reader. The American Media Institute covers stories other news outlets do not. We recruit reporters all over the world, investing money in translators, travel and document research. We are not a blog, which has few expenses beyond pajamas. Please help us continue to provide hard-hitting journalism by making a tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you.