Guatemalan authorities rescued seven unaccompanied minors from human smugglers working inside the migrant caravan, which is right now marching from southern Mexico toward the U.S. border, according to Judicial Watch.
The group said it obtained the information and photos from Guatemalan authorities revealing that they’d saved the children. The smugglers are said to have been arrested, and a criminal investigation into the caravan is ongoing.
“Chris Farrell and Irene Garcia put themselves in harm’s way to get this material, and Judicial Watch supporters nationwide are highly grateful for their sacrifices,” said Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch’s president.
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Fitton’s group is a nonprofit government watchdog that relies primarily on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation.
The group has filed 391 FOIA lawsuits seeking government documents since 2,000, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University in New York. The second-most frequent FOIA lawsuit filer during the same period was the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), with 130.
Judicial Watch Investigations Director Chris Farrell and Irene Garcia spent four days on the Guatemala-Honduras border looking into the caravan. Garcia is an experienced investigative journalist working for Judicial Watch.
Farrell and Garcia said in a statement that an unnamed high-ranking Guatemalan government official said the seven children were rescued from the traffickers in the caravan and are now being provided with food, water, and medical attention.
The names of the rescued children were not provided, nor was it known how the smugglers were identified as such and linked to the seven youths. They are pictured above left, with their faces obscured, in a photo the Guatemalan official provided to Judicial Watch.
The caravan is estimated to include as many as 10,000 men, women and children, mostly from Honduras, where the march initially assembled before proceeding through Guatemala and then into southern Mexico.
President Donald Trump has said there are terrorists embedded in the crowd in an assertion the mainstream media largely rejected as unsubstantiated.
.@DHSgov can confirm that there are individuals within the caravan who are gang members or have significant criminal histories.
— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) October 23, 2018
Judicial Watch warned in a report made public earlier this week of the potential for terrorists using the caravan for their own ends, citing the arrest of 100 ISIS terrorists by Guatemalan authorities on October 18.
The Judicial Watch report instead warned that terrorist operatives easily could have slipped into the caravan, given its size.
Trump is mobilizing the military along the border and cutting off aid to countries that let the migrants pass through their turf unhindered.
The president has constitutional authority to suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens, but that action could be subject to legal obstacles under international agreements the U.S. has signed to process credible asylum claims.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the president’s authority on June 26, 2018, after he was sued for blocking entry from six predominantly Muslim countries in 2017.
Trump also attempted an earlier crackdown on illegal immigration, which resulted in children being separated from adults who brought them into the country — and who may or may not have been related to them.
The process that’s begun when a migrant requests asylum in the U.S. often takes longer to complete than the 20 days immigration officials are allowed to hold children.
Officials release the child and adult at that point into the U.S. Such individuals almost never return, as required, to complete the asylum process.