;

NEWS & ANALYSIS

Department of Homeland Security to Create Intelligence Team to Track Migrants Heading Toward U.S.


The Department of Homeland Security will create an intelligence team tasked with tracking migrants that are heading towards the U.S.

The new team will collect biometric data and study social media information that could welcome mass migration, the Daily Caller reports. The team is expected to be up and running by the end of October, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

The team will work with other agency officials in Central and South America to collect information indicating a potential surge in northern migration. This would include aerial surveillance of migrant camps and trucks along borders.

The team will also work alongside U.S. intelligence agencies and connect with law enforcement agencies in foreign countries. The Department of Homeland Security will likely use the new information to allocate federal resources to regions where migrants are expected to attempt to cross the border, as well as to counter cartel advertisements falsely claiming the U.S. will allow for migrants to stay long-term.

A senior Department of Homeland Security official said the agency wants to offset messages encouraging migrants to make the journey.

“Once they’re in Mexico, it’s too late,” the official said.

The Office of Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security was previously in charge of migration tracking, but stopped filing movement reports during the Trump administration, two former agency officials said.

“The Trump administration’s almost singular focus on building a border wall as the solution to stopping illegal migration and illegal drugs from coming into the country actually resulted in the opposite,” one official said under anonymity. “It allowed key intelligence and operational capabilities to atrophy.”

The new intelligence team will include personnel from each agency, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and the Coast Guard.