DOJ files charges against 11 suspected 'caravan' members for illegal border crossing

DOJ files charges against 11 suspected 'caravan' members for illegal border crossing
© Getty Images

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed criminal charges on Monday against 11 individuals believed to be part of a so-called caravan of Central American migrants seeking asylum in the U.S.

The DOJ said in a press release shared by ABC News that border patrol agents apprehended the individuals a few miles west of the designated border crossing in San Ysidro, Calif.

“The United States will not stand by as our immigration laws are ignored and our nation’s safety is jeopardized,” Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump says 'people will not stand' for Mueller report Jeff Sessions returns to Justice Department to retrieve Cabinet chair Rosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March MORE said in a statement.

The 11 individuals charged in the case are accused of knowingly and willingly entering the U.S. at a time and place other than one designated by immigration officers.

ADVERTISEMENT

The arrests came one day after the group of roughly 200 Central Americans arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border. However, they were unable to enter at the border crossing near San Diego, Calif., because the facility was already at capacity.

A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said in a statement that the agency began processing migrants at the facility on Monday, and that other asylum-seekers would need to remain in Mexico until space opens up. 

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenHillicon Valley: Nunes sues Twitter for 0 million | Trump links tech giants to 'Radical Left Democrats' | Facebook settles suits over ad discrimination | Dems want answers over spread of New Zealand shooting video Nielsen calls for greater public-private collaboration on cyber threats The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms MORE had previously warned that the federal government would prosecute migrants who crossed the border illegally.

The group of more than 1,000 immigrants from Central America has made its way toward the U.S. border in recent weeks. Many of its members  broke off from the group in Mexico, with others planning to seek political asylum in the U.S. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated MORE has used the caravan's progress to push for stricter immigration laws. He has repeatedly called the U.S.'s current laws "pathetic" and "a joke" when referencing the caravan.