When Customs and Border Patrol officials arrested 46-year-old Miguel Angel Ramirez after he illegally entered the U.S. near San Diego, he was only four months out of a Honduran prison after serving 10 years for homicide and three years for robbery.
Ramirez told U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents he had traveled to Tijuana, Mexico, with the migrant caravan from Honduras through Guatemala — all the way north to the U.S. border.
He was arrested last Saturday night, November 24, but DHS only announced it Friday.
Ramirez and two other men were observed crossing the border a mile east of the San Ysidro, California, port of entry. DHS officials found documents concerning his prison time on Ramirez — and those details were then confirmed by the Honduran Consulate in Los Angeles.
“San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said, ‘It was Border Patrol agents’ effort and valued partnership with the Honduran Consulate in Los Angeles that helped us identify a dangerous convicted felon moving amongst the migrant caravan,’” Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Press Secretary Tyler Houlton said in a Friday statement.
The other two men who were arrested, ages 38 and 22, were Honduran nationals.
One of those men had been previously deported. All three men are being held in DHS custody pending deportation proceedings.
The Ramirez arrest reinforces claims by President Donald Trump and DHS officials that hundreds of violent criminals are among the estimated 8,500 migrants in the caravan, the advance elements of which began arriving in Tijuana a week ago.
“As DHS confirmed weeks ago, there are at least 600 known criminals in the caravan flow. The fact that Border Patrol arrested a murderer within the first caravan-related apprehensions at our southern border proves how real the threat of the caravan is to our national security and public safety. DHS will not tolerate illegal or forcible entry into our country,” Houlton said in the statement.
Hundreds of the migrants are now living in hastily erected tents in Tijuana hoping to be able to cross into the U.S. to claim asylum — and then wait for their claims to be adjudicated by immigration judges.
That wait could take months, a fact that has Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum worried that the caravan’s presence is creating both health hazards and a financial crisis for his city.
Tijuana residents, many of whom have taken to the streets to protest the caravan’s presence, are suffering financially. A six-hour period during which U.S. officials were forced to close the border crossing cost his city $129 million pesos.
“I’m not going to break public services to solve this problem,” the mayor told Fox News on Friday.
He pointed out that Tijuana residents, many of whom have taken to the streets to protest the caravan’s presence, are suffering financially.
A six-hour period during which U.S. officials were forced to close the border crossing cost his city $129 million pesos.
“That’s not fair. How do you think people from Tijuana feel toward those people who are making problems?” Gastelum told Fox News.
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Mark Tapscott is a senior investigative journalist.