On May 17, 2019, U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provided the Committee with internal data and analyses showing that hundreds of migrants approaching the southern border have criminal histories.
- In October 2018, CBP’s Office of Intelligence (OI) tracked one caravan estimated to include nearly 8,000 individuals that arrived south of California in December 2018. 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 and three individuals were convicted of murder.
- In January 2019, CBP OI tracked a caravan that departed Honduras with more than 3,300 individuals. 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.
These incidents are continuing. 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.
The letter noted that two weeks ago U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration that, “as of March 31, 2019, 361,087 migrants have been apprehended between the points of entry (POEs) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, representing a 108 percent increase over the same time in FY 2018.”
“Current projections are that more than 1 million people will have crossed our southern border illegally this year. Our constituents, the American public, are confounded as to why more is not being done by your Department,” the letter said.
Proposals include expanding a training program for border patrol agents to conduct fear interviews, where an undocumented immigrant is referred to an asylum officer if they express fear of returning to their home country.