The Department of Homeland Security secretly tracked journalists and immigration activists during the migrant “caravan” last year, the San Diego television station NBC 7 reported Wednesday.
NBC 7 said documents obtained by its investigative team show the government created a secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the caravan and, in some cases, placed alerts on their passports.
The individuals named in the documents included ten journalists, seven of whom are U.S. citizens, a U.S. attorney, and 47 people from the United States and other countries. The list included members of organizations like Border Angels and Pueblo Sin Fronteras.
“Journalists who covered the caravan, as well as those who offered assistance to caravan members, said they felt they had become targets of intense inspections and scrutiny by border officials,” NBC 7 said in its report.
One photojournalist said she was pulled into secondary inspections three times and asked questions about who she saw and photographed in Tijuana shelters. Many others told the station they suspected they were being monitored.
After the state’s report was broadcast, Customs and Border Protection issued a statement saying the caravan and similar events added “new challenges to an already complicated and dangerous mission” and said standard protocol is “to collect evidence that might be needed for future legal actions and to determine if the event was orchestrated.”