When a mob of Honduran illegal aliens began marching north toward the southern border of the United States a few weeks before Halloween, the radical Left and its auxiliaries in the media and Hollywood reacted as expected. They portrayed the migrant “caravan” as a spontaneous movement of women and children who fled “violence” and “feared for their lives.” And we heard that President Trump, who warned that migrants won’t be permitted to enter the United States, is a heartless, racist monster.
Yet even as the Left vilified Trump and sought sympathy for the poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, it concomitantly dismantled its own false narrative by inadvertently telling the truth. The media’s own reporting showed that Trump’s view of the “caravan,” which picked up Guatemalans and Salvadorans on the way, was largely correct:
• The migrants did not flee violence. They want jobs, homes, and welfare in the United States.
• The “caravan” is not mostly women and children. It is mostly men, many of them “stone-cold criminals.”
• The migration is not spontaneous. It is organized and well funded.
• The caravan’s organizers have a mission: undermine American sovereignty.
It is, as Trump said, an invasion.
They’re Coming for Jobs and Welfare
The first thread that unraveled from the narrative tapestry is that the caravan’s trudging troops are mostly “refugees.” The Associated Press repeatedly reported that the migrants fled “violence in their homelands” and even provided the account of “transgender” migrants forced to run from “violence and discrimination back home.” People who errantly think they are the opposite sex aren’t exactly the type of immigrant America needs, but at any rate AP also published a “fact check” of Trump’s claim that criminals were hiding in the horde. “In fact,” AP averred, “they are mostly poor people with few belongings who are fleeing gang violence.” Yet few if any of the stories, from AP or any media outlet, offered evidence of violence or persecution and instead merely repeated the migrants’ claims.
Beyond that, the media’s own accounts, and a major study from the University of Southern California (USC) published at the end of November, also proved the claims of persecution and fear of violence false.
First, the study.
The hard data came from USC’s National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events in a paper published with the Institute for Defense Analysis. The center assembled migrants’ answers when asked why they left home for the United States. The researchers found a remarkably consistent reply. “Long-term illegal migration to the United States of adults from [Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador] has primarily been driven by economic motivations,” the center reported. “The primary motivations of juvenile migrants from 2011 to the present are economic opportunities and reunification with family that migrated previously.”
As well, “evidence on the impact of crime and violence on juvenile migrants is mixed,” and the reasons the migrants won’t stay in Mexico is, again, economic: “Mexico offers very little economic gain.… The increase in income that a migrant could typically expect from migrating to Mexico would not justify the costs of doing so.”
The authors found that the “vast majority of migrants report economic incentives as the reason for migrating. In 2017, El Salvador had the largest fraction of respondents identifying violence as a motivation, but even there it was less than 20 percent.”
Migrants surveyed from 2012 through 2017 answered consistently. For instance, just 10 of the more than 7,000 Guatemalans whom Mexico sent home through those years said they had fled violence. And in 2016 and 2017, 100 percent of the Guatemalan migrants whom Mexico sent home said they headed north for jobs and a better life. In 2016, just three of 871 cited violence as the reason for migrating. In 2017, none did.
Detailing the center’s data from 2012 through 2015 is unnecessary, such is their consistency; 2016 and 2017 suffice. Guatemala aside, 98 percent of the migrants from Honduras and El Salvador cited economic reasons as the reason they left home in 2016. The figure for Hondurans was 97 percent, and for Salvadorans 74 percent, in 2017.
Answers from those turned back by U.S. authorities are nearly identical. In 2016, 91 percent of Guatemalans left home for the United States for economic reasons. In 2017, the number was 95 percent. For Honduras, it was 96 percent for both years. For El Salvador, the figures were 97 percent and 73 percent.
And “economic reasons” doesn’t just mean finding a job. Once in the United States, migrants will graze on a cornucopia of public benefits: free public education, free healthcare, and myriad welfare subsidies. Fifty-one percent of immigrant households collect welfare, the Center for Immigration Studies reported in 2016. The average take for Central American and Mexican households is $8,251.
The report from USC was published in November, and only goes through 2017. What of the migrants who began their trek north a few months ago? The leftist media that repeatedly assured us the migrants were “fleeing violence” also detailed the stories of those who can’t find work and dropped everything to hitch a ride.
“I got no choice,” a Guatemalan told Fox News: “I got to work for a living.”
“It’s time for me to go back to the United States,” another told the Washington Post. “It’s a country where I can live my life, unlike Guatemala.”
Hondurans were equally effusive about the prospects for work. “That’s just how it is. They catch you and you try to get back,” a six-time Honduran deportee told the Post. A three-timer asked a simple question: “We are workers. What are we supposed to do in Honduras if there’s no work?”
“I looked for work, and nothing,” a Honduran told AP. Another told NBC that she joined the caravan to find work in the United States and send the money back home.
Ami Horowitz, who produced a film about the caravan, spoke to three men, all of whom told him they wanted jobs in the United States. “Well, I’m looking for a better life. Economic,” he said. “I wish to get there and work there,” said another. A third told him work is unavailable in Honduras.
The migrants offered further proof they weren’t seeking asylum when they turned it down in Mexico, as President Trump rightly noted. And that offer from Mexico came with the chance to work.
A migrant summed it up for AP: “Our goal is to make it to the [United States]. We want passage, that’s all.”
Migrant Horde Is Mostly Men, and At Least 10 Percent Are Criminals
The falsehood that fear drove the migrants to trek for the border isn’t the only tall tale the media retailed. They used images of women and children to push another narrative: The caravan is a long train of hapless innocents who can’t protect themselves against evil drug lords at home, and now, in flight, must suffer the predations of nefarious road agents, sex traffickers, and human smugglers. The United States must provide asylum.
The caravan is not mostly women and children. It is mostly men, as Fox News showed with the Mexican government’s data. Of 6,062 migrants in Tijuana at November’s end, 3,877 were men, 1,127 were women, and 1,058 were children. So 63 percent of the caravan was men. And 2,000 more migrants, at the time of the report, were marching from Mexicali. If the share of men holds, that means another 1,260 were destined for Tijuana.
Filmmaker Horowitz estimated that 90-95 percent are men, a number that his images of the caravan supported, and even leftist MSNBC inadvertently reported the truth. “The truth is … the majority of them are men,” a reporter on the scene told and showed viewers. And why were those men in that caravan? “Some of these men have not articulated that need for asylum,” MSNBC’s man on the ground said. “Instead, they have talked about, you know, going to the United States for a better life and to find work.”
Of course, many of those men are criminals. U.S. authorities have estimated that about 10 percent of the roughly 6,000 migrants in Tijuana are criminals. “We have information of participation of over 500 individuals with criminal records as part of the caravan,” said Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “That is gathered through direct engagement, as well as information sharing with our government of Mexico partners.”
Yet the media insisted that the administration did not offer evidence for the claims. If the media don’t believe that 10 percent of the caravan are criminals, perhaps they can explain why Immigration and Customs Enforcement had to kick 226,199 criminal aliens out of the country in fiscal 2017.
Proving Trump’s point, border agents collared a member of MS-13, the satanic Salvadoran gang, hiding in a group of 60 migrants trying to enter the country through Calexico. The Border Patrol routinely arrests gang members attempting illegal entry. Gang members would be stupid not to hide in the horde of illegal aliens in Tijuana.
Perhaps the worst lie the Left peddled was that the Border Patrol “gassed” women and children at the San Ysidro port of entry on Thanksgiving weekend. The migrants kept their promise to storm the border station between San Diego and Tijuana. They hurled rocks and other projectiles at American border agents, who answered appropriately with tear gas and pepper spray. But that wasn’t the story, at least at first.
Democrats, Hollywood leftists, and media Marxists immediately denounced Trump. “Migrants at our border are looking for help,” Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) falsely tweeted. “Yet, instead of greeting them w understanding, you deploy tear gas. Shameful & disgusting.” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) offered an opinion, too: “Children who approach our country looking for asylum should be welcomed with open arms, not with tear gas.”
Hollywood has-beens Rob Reiner, who played Meathead on All in the Family, and George Takei, Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu, denounced Trump for “gassing babies” and “firing tear gas at young children.” Second-rate actress Alyssa Milano F-bombed Trump and called him an “evil creature person.”
The media bombarded Americans with the same propaganda line: “The firing of tear gas at toddlers, properly understood, is an act of mercy by the Trump administration,” the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank sarcastically wrote. “What could be more threatening to U.S. military personnel than a vast army of pipsqueaks, lacking potty training and running dangerously low on diapers?”
So Trump is uniquely evil. Women and children — an “army of pipsqueaks” — marched for weeks to seek asylum, only to receive a mailed fist from the heartless racist in the White House. It was another big lie. The illegal-alien invaders who rushed the border used women and children as the tip of their spear. “They pushed women and children up front,” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told the Daily Caller. “And then behind those women and children, they started throwing rocks, cement bricks, they started throwing bottles at our Border Patrol agents.”
But the attack’s organizers rightly anticipated a hysterical tale of agents attacking “toddlers.”
The truth about the attack surfaced concomitantly with an even more telling datum. Trump’s Border Patrol reacted no differently than President Obama’s. In 2013, border agents reacted likewise against a similar attack. As well, Obama’s border cops used gas and pepper on illegal aliens 513 times between 2012 and 2016.
Why the Caravan?
Yet the most significant lie about the “caravan” is what started it. It is not a spontaneous migration, as the radical Left and the elitist Deep State allies would have us believe.
Migrants admitted reading about the caravan on social media. The media frequently quoted caravan “leaders” and “organizers.” Those leaders have “weaponized” the migrants to undermine U.S. sovereignty, analyst Ana Quintana of the Heritage Foundation wrote. The “caravan was organized by Bartolo Fuentes, a former Honduran legislator and member of the radical leftist Libre party.” Fuentes was arrested in Guatemala, and Mexican cops collared an organizer who worked for the notorious leftist open-borders group Pueblo Sin Fronteras — People Without Borders.
Horowitz’s film shows activists organizing and herding migrants onto buses. “There was a massive logistical effort underway akin to moving an army,” he reported with supporting video, that “is clearly costing someone millions of dollars for the transportation, food, water, medicine and services that are being provided for the members of the Caravan.” Far from depicting an inchoate band of disorganized, hapless migrants, Horowitz’s footage showed a motorized and well-fed, well-watered, and well-managed movement.
Whoever pays the bill, groups such as Pueblo Sin Fronteras that aid and abet this invasion are pushing the invaders north for ideological reasons. They do the grunt work for the globalist Deep Staters who seek open borders, then a stateless world and planetary government.
Border-crashing migrants are a means to that end.
Photo: AP Images
This article originally appeared in the December 24, 2018 print edition of The New American. The New American publishes a print magazine twice a month, covering issues such as politics, money, foreign policy, environment, culture, and technology. To subscribe, click here.