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Congressman Andy Barr

Representing All the People of Kentucky's Sixth District

DHS Caravan Update

On November 27, 2018, I met with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to get an update on the federal government’s response to the 8,000-plus person caravan attempting to storm our southern border. Secretary Nielsen provided the following information:

• The caravan includes over 600 confirmed convicted criminal migrants and special interest aliens.

• Over the past week, there have been three separate and deliberate attempts to breach our border — attempts that were impeded in part by legacy fencing (evidence that we need additional physical barriers and modern technology).

• The attempts involved coordinated efforts by large masses of migrants attempting to breach physical barriers, throwing rocks and bottles at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, while using women and children as human shields. CBP dispersed the attacks using tear gas but did not aim the tear gas directly at the mass of people. This is common practice — the Obama Administration used tear gas at the border 126 times, and pepper spray over 540 times.

• National Guard and Department of Defense personnel have provided DHS with key logistical, administrative and backup support including repairing damaged border infrastructure after attempted breaches, although they have not been directly engaged in countering the attempted breaches.

• Finally and importantly, 90% of these individuals are not eligible for asylum in the United States under our existing laws and they have refused multiple opportunities to seek protection and asylum in Mexico or the UN Refugee Agency.

I will continue to monitor this situation and we thank all of our law enforcement and military officials for their service protecting our nation.