At least 4,000 refugees have been using WhatsApp to communicate during their journey to the U.S.-Mexico border. And the Feds are gathering information from paid informants.
Department of Homeland Security employees joined WhatsApp groups to monitor the messages of refugees in the caravans, according to NBC News.
WhatsApp is free and allows you to avoid international calling rates by making audio and video calls over Wi-Fi or data. Facebook purchased the messaging app for $19 billion in 2014. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leads an all-white executive team.
Thousands refugees from the first of the caravans arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, on Monday greeted by protesters.
DHS authorities reportedly told NBC that they received reports from DHS personnel who are working with the Mexican government in order to keep tabs on the caravan’s size, plans and any potential security threats.
Their informants reported back on Sunday that a group of refugees were planning to run through the car lanes of a border crossing near San Diego, which resulted in a three-hour closure of northbound traffic at the busiest border entry point from Mexico. The military installed new security barriers from 3 a.m.to 6 a.m.
Ironically, nothing happened.
It was also discovered that over 500 criminals were traveling within the caravans.
John Cohen, former acting undersecretary of intelligence for DHS, indicated that by paying informants and gathering information on the caravans, it would keep American borders safe. He also said that the unorthodox practice wasn’t illegal. However, he is concerned about the source of funding to facilitate the operation.
“Those resources have to come from some place. They are not being devoted to thwarting terrorist threats, mass shootings, mailed fentanyl coming into the country or cyberattacks,” Cohen said.
He added, “I find it hard to believe that the highest risk facing this nation comes from this caravan.”
It’s a fair assessment given the fact that the government’s focus on U.S. borders with Mexico seem to be circumventing priorities of safety at other borders.
Not everyone shares Cohen’s sentiment.
DHS Spokeswoman Katie Waldman said, “While not commenting on sources or methods, it would be malpractice for the United States to be ignorant about the migrants — including many criminals — attempting to enter our country. 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.”