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25 MS-13 gang members found in migrant caravan at border, then deported

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrest illegal aliens attempting to enter the United States after crossing the Rio Grande River in McAllen. (Ozzy Trevino/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
February 23, 2019

A caravan of around 1,600 migrants that arrived two weeks ago from Central America was found to have MS-13 gang members from El Salvador hiding among them.

They were all staying at a federally operated facility in Piedras Negras, Coahuila when officials discovered who they were, FOX News reported.

In all, some 25 MS-13 gang members were deported across two related incidents.

Officials from the Instituto Nacional de Migración identified 10 MS-13 gang members when the caravan first arrived, but 15 more were identified last week when there was an incident with police and the caravan, according to INM Media Deputy Director Aline Juarez.

A total of 70 Central American asylum seekers have been deported to their countries of origin — not including the 25 MS-13 gang members — following trouble at a Piedras Negras refugee shelter. Officials said the shelter would be closed within days.

Another 1,500 have been granted humanitarian visas.

Coahuila State Public Safety Secretary Jose Luis Pliego said around 400 refugees have been delivered to neighboring Mexico regions such as Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas to get jobs and to find legal ways to enter the U.S.

Many of the migrants staying at shelters said they are afraid they will get deported. A Honduran refugee who only went by the name “Donaldo,” said, “I don’t feel safe here.”

Only around 12 refugees are allowed to show up at the border to seek asylum on a daily basis. This limit is causing a lot of congestion and back-up in the asylum process since the migrant has to go back to Mexico and await the lengthy court process after applying for asylum, the Washington Examiner reported.

The region is patrolled by border agents and covers “an area of over 17,000 square miles in 19 counties, which includes 320 river miles and 250 coastal miles,” Fox said.

The Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector in Texas has arrested more than 100 MS-13 gang members in January alone. This area is what President Trump called “a crisis of crime and drugs along the southern border,” when he visited the area last month, according to Fox News.

MS-13 started in Los Angeles prisons, but has since made its way through the U.S. The gang is predominantly El Salvadorans.

Miguel Riquelme, governor of Mexico’s Coahuila state said, “We have data that there are agitators inside the shelter, that there are members of the caravan who are provoking others, some of them belong to the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), some others who bring criminal records in their country and what we have been doing is deporting them directly with Migration,” according to the Washington Examiner.