Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley confirmed Thursday afternoon there are serious and violent criminal elements traveling in multiple caravans headed toward the United States.
"According to information obtained by my office, several members of the first caravan have significant criminal histories, including assault and sexual misconduct against a child, and membership in the MS-13 gang. Further, the Department of Homeland Security recently reported that several hundred members of the second caravan clashed with Mexican federal police throwing rocks, glass bottles, and even fireworks at Mexican officers in a seemingly criminal altercation," Grassley wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Grassley is requesting a detailed briefing about how many asylum seekers are traveling in the caravan in order to best allocate resources and protect Americans from dangerous actors.
"Information on these groups will help the Committee address the needs of vulnerable asylum-seekers who need humanitarian relief and those Homeland Security officials tasked with processing people at our border, while preventing the entry of caravan members who are national security threats, such as members of transnational criminal organizations," his letter continued.
Meanwhile, President Trump has ordered 5800 troops to the U.S. border with Mexico in order to support Customs and Border Protection with combatting the caravans. At the White House Wednesday night, Trump said additional troops may be added.
"As far as the caravan, which is very dangerous -- you see what's been happening -- as far as the caravan is concerned, our military is out. We have about 5,800. We'll go up anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 military personnel, on top of Border Patrol, ICE, and everybody else at the border," he said. "Nobody is coming in. We're not allowing people to come in. If you look at what happened in Mexico two days ago, with the roughness of these people in the second caravan that's been forming, and also, frankly, in the first caravan, and now they have one forming in El Salvador -- and we are thinking very seriously immediately stopping aid to those countries."