Trump administration paying undercover informants in migrant caravan: report

The Trump administration has been paying undercover informants in the migrant caravan moving toward the U.S. border in an effort to gather intelligence, NBC News reported Tuesday, citing two Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials.

DHS has also been monitoring text messages between members of the caravan that have been sent using the communications app WhatsApp, according to NBC News.

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The migrants, who are fleeing violence from their home countries in Central America, are currently moving through Mexico and toward the southern U.S. border.

DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman, in a statement to The Hill, declined to comment on the "sources or methods" that DHS uses to gather intelligence on the migrants. But she added that it would be "malpractice for the United States to be ignorant about the migrants."

"We have an obligation to ensure we know who is crossing our borders to protect against threats to the Homeland and any indication to the contrary is misinformed," she added.

NBC News noted that DHS officials said Monday that their intelligence led them to believe that migrants were planning to rush the border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which is near San Diego. That prompted Customs and Border Control to close traffic lanes near that port of entry on Monday, but the influx of migrants never occurred. 

Currently, thousands of U.S. troops are at the border awaiting the migrants. The troops were deployed at the request of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham: America must 'accept the pain that comes in standing up to China' Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump New data challenges Trump's economic narrative MORE, who has claimed that the migrants present a national security threat. 

Earlier this week it was reported that the Pentagon is planning to begin a drawdown of troops at the southern border.