National Security

U.S. Has ‘National Emergency’ in Caravan, Former Top DEA Official Warns

Derek Maltz said Trump has 'stepped up' efforts to turn back latest mass movement of immigrants, talks of dangers in the crowd

Image Credit: Shutterstock/John Moore/Getty Images

America faces “a national emergency” in the Central American migrant caravan making its way north through Mexico, with “massive amounts of people coming into our country with disease, with crime, with drugs,” according to a former senior Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent.

“We have a national emergency right now, as far as I’m concerned, Laura,” Derek S. Maltz, a former special agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Special Operations Division, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on “The Ingraham Angle” Thursday night.

When Ingraham asked “what could be embedded in this caravan,” Maltz responded, “First of all, the terrorists are tapping into the criminal networks for funding. That’s number one.”

“Drugs are generating like $400 billion a year around the world, and right now we have young kids dying from the poison every single day … About [every] 11 minutes we have somebody dying from an opioid overdose, right.”

“We have mass amounts of people coming into our country with disease, with crime, with drugs. And you know what? We have to put an end to it. Thank God President Donald Trump has stepped up and has sent the troops down there to kind of help us.”

A caravan now potentially brimming with upward of 7,000 migrants began its trek last week from Honduras through Guatemala to Mexico, with many participants saying they hope ultimately to enter the U.S. and claim asylum.

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Trump and other Republicans have warned of the dangers of uncontrolled mass immigration, noting that potential terrorists, violent criminals and drug cartel members easily could enter the U.S. after claiming asylum.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on Thursday night that although she couldn’t say with certainty who may be traveling with this latest caravan, she warned, “What we do know is that terrorists have highlighted for many years the loopholes in our border security.”

“What we do know is there are criminals as part of this flow. We do know there are gang members as part of this flow,” Nielsen said, adding that U.S. Border Patrol officers apprehend about 3,000 “special interest aliens” — immigrants from countries compromised by or associated with terrorism — every year.

Maltz said, “These organizations don’t just wait. They actually are planning to get people here in this country to do very bad things. That’s the bottom line.”

“You look at El Salvador, you look at Guatemala, you look at Honduras — these are some of the most violent countries in the region, the whole world,” Maltz added. “And then all our kids and the hardworking Americans have to pay the bill. And what about the diseases that are coming in from Africa?”

Trump issued a stern warning to the caravan members on Twitter on Thursday, writing, “To those in the caravan, turn around, we are not letting people into the United States illegally. Go back to your country and if you want, apply for citizenship like millions of others are doing!”

The president reportedly is mulling over whether to sign an executive order modeled after his travel ban affecting immigrants from six Middle Eastern countries compromised by radical Islamic terrorists, according to Politico.

Related: Homeland Security Secretary to Caravan: ‘You Cannot Stay’

Trump is also pushing hard for the fulfillment of his signature border wall campaign promise, for which congressional Democrats and some Republicans have been loath to provide the funding.

“My view is that the wall alone is not going to stop the drug cartels,” Maltz admitted. “They are a business enterprise that wants to make money. They’re going to figure out ways to get the stuff into the country. They have tunnels.”

“But, if there’s a wall that they can’t climb over or can’t drive a car over, we’re going to be able to prevent them from getting into this country like they are right now,” Maltz insisted. “So the wall is definitely going to help, but it’s not alone going to stop the problem.”

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