Crisis on Southern Border Getting Worse, Say Experts

In a followup to last week’s stories on the Southern Border Crisis, American Free Press writer Mark Anderson reports on a CPB report of the high numbers of apprehensions in April alone. With nowhere left to hold unauthorized border crossers, the Border Patrol can’t handle any more illegal immigrants.

By Mark Anderson

DONNA, Texas—The U.S. Border Patrol now says that the newly built Donna, Texas “tent” facility, which is actually a semi-permanent structure south of that Hidalgo County town near the international bridge, has already exceeded its estimated 500-person capacity even though it was erected only one month ago.

If you read various newspapers from around the state and consult the Border Patrol, you find that, in this “non-crisis,” unauthorized border crossings have volcanically surged since 2019 began. The Border Patrol made 98,977 apprehensions for illegal border crossings in April, including 58,474 adults and children traveling together—nearly 100,000 people overall.

In the Rio Grande Valley sector, the four-county border area about which American Free Press reported in-depth in our previous edition, the Border Patrol apprehends about 1,600 people daily. A year ago, arrests totaled one-third of that number on most days, and even that would be a rather high influx.

Kingdom Identity

The Border Patrol, as of this writing, had gotten to the point where it has more than 8,000 illegal immigrants in detention in this busiest of border sectors. That is more than double the Border Patrol’s current overall detention capacity in the 316-mile-wide sector, including the current Donna facility and at the Border Patrol’s own stations.

Rodolfo Karisch, a Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol spokesman, stated that the agency’s resources “are beyond a breaking point and has put border security at risk.”

As Border Patrol official Hector Escamilla stated at a McAllen speech covered in our previous edition, people from well over 40 nations, including from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, are storming the border, adding considerable guesswork, time, and expense in determining who is coming to the U.S. and why—right when the Rio Grande Valley sector’s 3,100 Border Patrol agents constitute roughly half of the manpower needed to police the border in the current “non-crisis.”

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Yet all the media does is quote people like John-Michael Torres, a spokesman for the group La Unión Del Pueblo Entero, who told the Texarkana Gazette that when the first “tents” were erected in Donna, and 796 miles to the west in El Paso, Trump was merely “using children and other vulnerable people to manufacture a crisis at the southern border.”

“The president cannot detain away the real humanitarian need of parents seeking safe ground and a future for their children,” moaned Torres. The activist is evidently just as clueless or manipulative as the media, neglecting to consider the root causes of this real crisis, in order to face the reality that open borders augmented with catch-and-release policies incentivize drug and human traffickers to continue uprooting the people of Central American countries, leading to a breakdown of those nations and the depletion of the core of their labor forces over time. Simply put, driving everyone to the U.S. is not humanitarianism.

AFP readers would do well to call their state and federal representatives and tell them of the Border Patrol’s announced goal of having some of its agents trained to process asylum claims right at the border to process people faster, reduce catch-and-release numbers, and speed up and increase deportations. From there, more immigration judges, much better border wall progress, and a far stricter policy in dealing with Mexico’s apparent complicity in this crisis, all are sorely needed right away.

Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor. Email him at [email protected].




Yes, There Is a Crisis at the Southern Border

American Free Press Issue 19 & 20 extensively covered the situation at America’s southern border with three articles. Together, they make clear that there is, indeed, a crisis at the border. 

Retired Texas Cop Gives AFP Firsthand Tour of the Border

By Mark Anderson

BROWNSVILLE, Texas—A retired Texas policeman recently took AMERICAN FREE PRESS on a guided tour of a key border crossing where, every day, he sees firsthand America’s border dilemma—something he has witnessed unfolding for decades.

“The border is actually a two-way street,” Rusty Monsees told AFP during an April 24 visit to his 21-acre homestead. “The criminal elements enter the U.S. to do their stuff but return to Mexico when the heat gets too hot and go back and forth several times as needed. And when the law gets too close down there, they come back to the United States. A Border Patrol agent once caught a guy with six different IDs. This is not a football game where everybody shakes hands at the end; this is dangerous stuff.”

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The former San Benito, Texas cop pointed out that some of his acreage is actually south of the approximately 20-year-old border fence that runs past his house, which, oddly enough, is a good 100 yards north of the actual U.S.-Mexico boundary—the winding, murky Rio Grande River. He then started his Ford F-150 truck and led this writer through a gap in the border fence down to the river in order to show up-close what he and the Border Patrol he assists deal with on a regular basis. He keeps a rifle handy for self-defense at all times.

Asked about border differences since Donald Trump became president, Monsees said there are Mexican citizens who want a safer country and improved border security. Their attitude in the age of Trump has changed. They seem to have more resolve, especially in not wanting their own criminal elements crossing the border and “vacationing in the States,” as Monsees put it, so those elements can reorganize and head back to Mexico to continue their illicit activities.

What needs to happen, said Monsees, is a two-fence solution.

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“So, let me get this straight. If I’m a cartel member or MS-13 gang member, I should first be encountering a fence before I even get to the Rio Grande River, a fence on the Mexican side?” this writer asked Monsees.

“Yes, that’s right,” he said, pointing to the river that is lined with a dense thicket of trees, especially on the Mexican side. This, he added, provides endless places for border-jumpers to hide.

Monsees contends that both the U.S. and Mexico should have an interest in border security. As a result, a truly effective fencing scheme would include non-rustable, sturdy, tall metal fencing laced with concertina wire and built on both sides of the river in key areas—with less reliance on the existing gap-ridden “tactical infrastructure” fencing, as the U.S. government calls it, which is rusting and too often can be climbed or otherwise circumvented by the more determined among the illegal aliens.

Monsees pointed out another thing often overlooked, which is a border breach of a different sort. Mercury, lead, diazinon, and trace uranium get into the Rio Grande River via the discharges from the maquiladoras, the large factories with reportedly bad working conditions and poor wages built under the soon-to-be-replaced North American Free Trade Agreement.

ACROSS THE BORDER

This writer then visited Matamoros, just across the border in Mexico from Brownsville, where there was a small “tent community” that included three Cubans who hope to enter the United States.

A young man named Pablo, accompanied by a pregnant woman about 20 years old and another young man, said they were hoping she can give birth in the U.S., evidently for welfare assistance.

He claimed they were flown in a plane from Cuba to Brazil. Between October and now, they said they reached the Texas border mainly by bus.

Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor. Email him at [email protected].


Border Patrol Chief Recounts the Immigration Turmoil, Real Crisis

By Mark Anderson

McALLEN, Texas—Acting Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector Border Patrol Chief Hector Escamilla, speaking at the McAllen Citizens League’s luncheon April 25, outlined the daunting task carried out by the Border Patrol to reduce the overall flow of illegal immigrants and focus on the criminal element that steadily enters the U.S. While his assessment of the border crisis and some recommended solutions corroborated important matters American Free Press has reported on, Escamilla added some clarifying points to illustrate the complexity and severity of the crisis.

A 30-year Border Patrol veteran, Escamilla explained that the Border Patrol, which has 3,100 agents in the four-county RGV sector, needs to press for specific policy changes that will increase deportations and result in a “package deal” where the “wall,” helpful though it may be, is one of several coordinated measures needing to be implemented.

Kingdom Identity

Having 3,100 agents may sound impressive and adequate, but by the time sick leave, vacations, and administrative-desk duties are covered, only half of those 3,100 officers end up being “boots on the ground” at any given time—for a border sector covering “316 river miles, from the mouth of the Rio Grande all the way to the Falcon Dam; that’s a pretty daunting task,” Escamilla said.

He clarified: “A lot of the area we cover is dense brush . . . the lateral mobility is very difficult because a lot of the land that we patrol is owned by personal landowners . . . we can’t just traverse continuously along the river.” In addition, government and private wildlife refuges along the border, heavily regulated in a manner that prevents border agents from “mowing the place down” to find hidden illegal immigrants, further complicate the issue.

What’s more, Border Patrol must help guard the coastal counties. “We’re actually responsible for the entire [Gulf] shoreline, all the way to the Louisiana border,” said Escamilla. “So we do have agents in different places along the coastline.”

He added that, in the RGV sector alone, 165,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended at the border since the start of the fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2018). During the same period there has been a 150% increase of “OTMs” (other than Mexicans) illegally entering the U.S.

He explained, “The majority of the OTMs are from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras.”

Pressing Escamilla to confirm that people from more than 40 nations, including overseas, are illegally entering the U.S, this writer interjected, “We hear about Asia, the Middle East and even Europe.”

Subscribe to AFPHis response: “Yes, we’ve got Middle Eastern folks here. We’ve got Iraqis, Iranians, a lot of Chinese— Chinese are more common than people might think . . . Pakistanis and Cubans, we’re catching Cubans. These people bring in lots of money for the cartels—$15,000 to $20,000 per person. We estimate that the cartels are making as much or more money from human trafficking than they do from the actual smuggling of narcotics.”

Asked by another audience member to explain the asylum situation, Escamilla said: “The majority of those who come here, they come from economic-hardship countries. That’s usually what they tell us as the reason they’re fleeing. . . . There is in most of those Central American countries a lot of poverty, a lot of gangs, violence, including MS-13 and so on. But . . . the reasons for asylum should be specific to the individual. Did the cartels, did the gangs in their country of origin specifically target them for political reasons, and not so much because there’s an economic crisis in the country?”

Stressing a recommended procedural change, Escamilla remarked: “We’d like to see asylum officers actually accessible at the Border Patrol stations. In fact, there’s talk of Border Patrol agents themselves having the authority to listen to asylum claims, so we can expedite the process. But, of course, that’s being met with a lot of resistance. It’s going to be met with a lot of lawsuits.”

Asked by this writer whether the Border Patrol needs another 4,000 agents in addition to the 3,100 in the RGV sector, Escamilla replied that hiring significantly more agents and obtaining the authority to assign more personnel to screen asylum requests are two steps toward developing a solution—along with hiring more immigration judges.

“We really do need a lot of different factors and one of them is policy,” he said. “Until we start returning some of these migrant families and children back to their country of origin quickly . . . to make it more difficult for them to make a second or third trip . . . then, I don’t care how many agents you give us, it’s not going to do us any good. There’s got to be a change in policy. We’ve got to communicate with the heads of these countries and ask, why can’t you take your people back quicker?”


Both Sides of the Border Need to Be Safeguarded

By John Friend

The crisis along the southern border between the United States and Mexico continues to spiral out of control as thousands of migrants attempt to illegally enter the United States on a daily basis, many with entirely fraudulent claims and documentation.

According to a recent report published by The Epoch Times, U.S. Border Patrol officials have identified over 3,000 cases in the past six months alone that involve fraudulent family unit claims made by migrants seeking asylum or permanent resettlement in America, demonstrating the increasingly difficult situation immigration officials find themselves in when screening migrants and asylum seekers.

“It’s very clear that the cartel and smugglers know the weaknesses in our laws,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, said in an April 18 press conference while he was visiting the border near McAllen, Texas. “They know that family units and unaccompanied children will be released with no consequences for their illegal entries.”

McAleenan took over the department following the April 7 resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen, who was often criticized by President Trump.

Migrants seeking entry to the U.S. are often screened, processed, and then released into the country, especially if they have children traveling with them. By law, family units must be released upon entry rather than being turned away or detained, allowing illegal aliens, human traffickers, and cartels to exploit U.S. immigration laws.

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“The same child is brought across the border with an adult multiple times to try and gain that release that family units are required under court order,” McAleenan stated.

According to McAleenan, 4,800 migrants attempted to illegally cross the U.S. border on April 16 alone, underscoring the seriousness of the situation. The 4,800 marked “a new record for the modern era,” he added. “Almost 1,000 of them crossed in just three large groups, 375 people in the largest of those groups.”

Last month, Border Patrol agents encountered 103,000 individuals along the southwest border, with 92,000 of those individuals being apprehended by agents, marking a 35% increase of apprehensions from the previous month. In the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas, Border Patrol agents have already surpassed the total number of apprehensions during the 2018 fiscal year.

“Last fiscal year, Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector apprehended 162,000 individuals,” Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Marcelino Medina told reporters in late April. “For the first seven months of this fiscal year, we’ve already surpassed that number.” In the RGV region alone, agents are averaging 1,100 apprehensions every single day.

Sydney Hernandez, a local news reporter for KGBT in the RGV region, interviewed a number of migrants seeking entry to the U.S. recently. Many stated that they are being told in their home countries that they will receive help and assistance from the U.S. government if they enter illegally.

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“Immigrants tell me they’re coming to the U.S. because they’re seeing advertisements on their local newspapers and TV stations, about better opportunities and free help from Americans if they enter illegally,” Hernandez reported.

Illegal aliens are not supposed to receive government benefits, but many do. According to a 2017 study conducted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), illegal immigrants consume over $100 billion in taxpayer money every year. With countless migrants now entering the U.S. daily, that amount will only increase.

“We’re talking about billions of dollars in taxpayer benefits over the next few years,” FAIR Director Dan Stein explained to Fox News recently. “The payout for the taxpayer is enormous, and income to the Treasury is miniscule.”

Overall, illegal immigrants receive more government benefits than they contribute via taxes. Many receive free public schooling, medical care, housing assistance, food stamps, and other social services.

DISARMED

In related news, two U.S. soldiers who were conducting surveillance along the border, south of the border fence but north of the Rio Grande River, were confronted by Mexican soldiers armed with assault rifles.

“On April 13, 2019, at approximately 2 p.m. CDT, five to six Mexican military personnel questioned two U.S. Army soldiers who were conducting border support operations in an unmarked (Customs and Border Protection) vehicle near the southwest border in the vicinity of Clint, Texas,” U.S. Northern Command (USNorthCom) explained in a statement to CNN. “The U.S. soldiers were appropriately in U.S. territory.”

During the incident, the Mexican troops pointed their weapons at the soldiers and disarmed one of them, returning the sidearm to the vehicle. According to USNorthCom, an inquiry determined the Mexican troops believed the U.S. soldiers were on the Mexican side of the border. Thus far, President Donald Trump has not commented on this potentially explosive situation.

MILITIA LEADER ARRESTED

Meanwhile, the FBI has arrested a leader of a militia group in New Mexico whose organization was attempting to stop illegal immigrants from entering the U.S., it was recently reported.

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Larry Hopkins, 69, was arrested on April 26 on a federal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. Hopkins’s group, the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), has reportedly detained close to 5,600 illegal aliens in recent months in an effort to help Border Patrol agents and immigration officials deal with the increasingly lawless southern border. Hopkins and his group have been denounced and criticized by the governor of New Mexico and other left-wing, open-borders activist groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Members of the UCP are convinced Hopkins will be cleared and are proud of their righteous cause.

“We’re not worried about it,” stated Jim Benvie, a spokesperson for the group. “He’s going to be cleared.”

John Friend is a freelance author based in California.




Go Home

Who’s funding the massive caravan of migrants trying to invade the U.S.? Allegations George Soros is involved are no conspiracy theory.

By John Friend

The so-called “caravan” of Third World migrants marching their way through Mexico in an attempt to enter the United States and seek asylum or claim refugee status has the nation in an uproar, with President Donald Trump openly describing the situation as a potential invasion of the country and vowing to provide military support to border patrol and immigration authorities.

The caravan, which originated earlier this month in Central America before crossing into Mexico to make the northward journey toward the southern border of the U.S., has sparked outrage, controversy, and division across the country.

In late October, the Department of Homeland Security announced that gang members and other criminals are among members of the migrant caravan, and that many of those walking are from countries outside Central America, including the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. A young migrant man recently interviewed by Fox News openly admitted that “criminals are everywhere” within the caravan before insisting that there were also “good people here trying to get through Mexico and then to the United States.”

Additionally, Fox News also reported that about 80% of the caravan is comprised of young men under the age of 35, raising alarms and calling into question the notion that those traveling in the caravan are potential refugees and persecuted asylum seekers, as left-leaning supporters of the caravan insist.

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Trump took a strong and forceful stand against the migrant caravan when it first generated headlines earlier this month. He publicly urged the participants to go back to their home countries.

“Many gang members and some very bad people are mixed into the caravan heading to our Southern border,” the president tweeted recently. “Please go back. You will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our country and our military is waiting for you!”

Defense Secretary James Mattis also announced recently that roughly 5,200 U.S. soldiers would be deployed at positions along the U.S. border with Mexico in an effort to reinforce and support National Guard units and federal immigration and customs officials protecting and guarding the border. The military is in the process of moving heavy equipment such as concrete barriers to the border and will help construct additional fences and barriers as well as provide logistical support to Border Patrol agents.

Previously, the Trump administration vowed to cut off foreign aid and investment in the countries deemed to be facilitating the several-thousand-strong migrant caravan, including Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.

American Free Press has looked into who exactly is funding the massive migrant caravan that has been wending its way north. It should come as no surprise that George Soros’s foundations along with at least five other well-funded immigrant advocacy groups are behind the army of migrants that is attempting to cross into the United States in violation of the law. See article below for details.


Caravan Needs Funding

Money and orchestration are needed to coordinate the movements of a veritable army of Central Americans to get to the U.S. Border. Where is it coming from?

The current migrant caravan, like previous high-profile attempts to organize massive armies of immigrants, has many wondering who is funding and facilitating these groups, which have at times included up to 7,000 people, mainly Central Americans.

Several published reports have alleged that Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), a radical left-wing activist organization that, according to its website, provides “humanitarian aid and legal advice to migrants and refugees,” has played a key role in helping organize and publicize the current migrant caravan. The group openly organizes rallies and fundraisers for migrants and “displaced persons.”

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CBN News recently reported that Denis Omar Contreras, a member of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, is one of the organization’s members currently representing the migrant caravan.

In an article published on Oct. 29, Arizona Republic reporter Daniel Gonzalez, who was embedded with the caravan, wrote that the group had stopped to rest in San Pedro Tapanatepec, Mexico, where “local residents, church groups, and municipal officials in the towns where the caravan stops are feeding the migrants.”

Gonzalez added: “Coordinators with Pueblo Sin Fronteras say the caravan operates with no hierarchy but rather by consensus. Each evening, after the sun goes down and the oppressive heat dissipates, migrants are invited to the center of town to listen to plans put forth by volunteer coordinators.”

“[The migrants] are given a chance to agree or disagree,” explained Pueblo Sin Fronteras volunteer Nelly Espinoza. “No decision is made without the input of our collaborators.” The term “collaborators” refers to the thousands of migrants, who are making the long trek through Central America into Mexico.

Others, including Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch, have argued that George Soros, the notorious left-wing billionaire known to support and finance the open-borders agenda, refugee resettlement, and massive Third World migration to the West, is responsible for the caravan.

On a recent appearance on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” on Fox News, Farrell declared that the caravan was a very well-organized and well-funded movement that had support from a variety of radical left-wing activist groups, including the “Soros-occupied State Department.”

For years it has been alleged that the State Department has colluded with various international organizations, including Soros’s Open Societies Foundations, to sow division in foreign countries, aid and facilitate massive migration and resettlement, and even destabilize sovereign governments to advance the globalist New World Order agenda.

Farrell was quickly denounced by Fox News, with senior executives of the network condemning his statements and pulling the program from the archives. Due to his remarks, Farrell“will no longer be appearing as a guest on Fox Business Network or Fox News Channel,” the company said in a statement to USA Today.

In the aftermath of the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, allegedly carried out by an insane man named Robert Bowers, many in the mainstream mass media and political establishment are attempting to shut down debate over the migrant caravan by insisting that criticizing Soros or pointing out his long history of supporting radical left-wing political causes is inherently anti-Semitic. Farrell and countless others have been dismissed as crazed anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists for stating facts about Soros and the open-borders agendas he has supported and financed over the years, despite the entirely reasonable, legitimate, and well-founded perspectives proffered by critics of Soros.

Get Out of CashAnd it’s not just private organizations and individuals that are helping to mobilize the migrant caravan.

News and commentary website “Investor’s Business Daily” notes in an editorial, “Migrant Caravan: A Foreign-Financed, Leftist-Led Violation of U.S. Sovereignty,” that even the United Nations (UN) has been offering cash and resources to the group. “[T]he UN is committing resources to the caravan. In essence, it uses U.S. taxpayers’ money to fund a violation of their own border. That way, the U.S. can join all the other countries with a mass immigration problem.”

“Investor’s” cites a UN News Service report that stated: “A priority for the UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees], which has mobilized extra staff and resources to help those making the journey in Mexico’s southern borderlands, is ensuring migrants are informed on their rights to asylum. In an agency video, a UNHCR protection associate said many migrants were simply unaware asylum was an option.”

Finally, Vice President Mike Pence told The Washington Post, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández said to him that a migrant caravan approaching the U.S. southern border is being financed by Venezuela.

“The president of Honduras told me this was organized by leftist groups in Honduras and financed by Venezuela,” said Pence.

John Friend is a freelance author based in California.




Border Patrol Spokesman Sets Media Straight on Horrors of Illegal Immigration

By AFP Staff

Chris Cabrera, a spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council, was on CNN yesterday not just to defend law enforcement efforts on the border but also to call out Congress for failing in its constitutional duty to solve the immigration crisis.

In the shocking interview, Cabrera recounted horror stories that Border Patrol agents experience on a daily basis while policing the U.S. border with Mexico.

“We’ve had this situation going on for four years now,” he said. “I don’t think you can necessarily blame it on one administration or another. It started under one and is continuing under another. It hasn’t been fixed and it needs to be fixed.”

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Cabrera went on to cite some of the worst examples officers have faced as a result of the lax U.S. border enforcement.

“When you see a 12-year-old girl with a plan B [birth control] pill—her parents put her on birth control because they know getting violated is part of the journey—that’s a terrible way to live,” he told CNN. “When you see a 4-year-old girl traveling alone with just her parents’ phone number written across her shirt. . . . We had a 9-year-old boy have heat stroke in front of us and die with no family around. That’s because we’re allowing people to take advantage of this system.”

The spokesman excoriated the mainstream media for focusing solely on the kids being separated from their families and missing the larger picture, which is continuing to send the message that if illegal immigrants will make the terrible journey to the U.S. border, they will be allowed entry. The onus is on Congress to make that stop, he added. The message has to be zero tolerance for illegal border crossings.

And for those likening U.S. Border Patrol officers to Nazis, he had this to say: “Most of our agents are parents. I’ve seen guys and I’ve done it myself—you give your last bottle of water to a kid, you’ll take a toy out of your car to give to one of these kids because you know the situation they’re in. Agents are very sympathetic. We’re human, we’re fathers, we have families. We do a lot for the communities here, whether or not a camera is involved. Our agents are very involved. And nobody saves more lives along the southwestern border than the U.S. Border patrol.”

You can watch the entire interview here:




Immigrant Caravan a Publicity Stunt

The band of illegal immigrants entering the United States at the Southwestern border is being called a “propaganda ploy” designed to test U.S. resolve. How many of the “caravaners” are actually asylum-seekers from Central America? 

By Mark Anderson

The much-ballyhooed “caravan” of Central Americans, which recently arrived at the Mexico-California border in several buses seeking asylum, looks to be nothing more than a publicity stunt that has been artificially inflated in size and scope for purposes of political agitation.

“This is a provocation to get publicity and excite other migrants . . . so they can do the same thing,” Roger Ogden told AFP by phone May 1, after sharing his video footage and photographs with AFP. “It’s also done to make our government look weak and helpless.”

The retired naval engineer and videographer has been watching the caravan for over a month now from the U.S. border in southern California.

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Ogden cited the well-publicized San Diego beach area where aging metal border fencing ends at the water’s edge. He said that “several hundred” people did gather there on the Mexican side around the time that the mainstream media announced the arrival of the so-called caravan. Mainstream and amateur video footage showed that the fence was breached—evidently by a combination of “caravaners” and migrants from nearby parts of Mexico. Some of the more agile among them were able to climb the fence to the other side.

For months now, the mainstream media has been claiming that a massive caravan of migrants from Central America have walked across Mexico to get to the U.S., claiming that many in the group were fleeing political persecution. Ogden, however, questioned the origins of the migrants.

“I don’t think that many of them were Central American refugees at all,” Ogden said. He emphasized that the “caravan” is political theater—a combination of nearby migrants and some from Central America co-mingling to advance a propaganda war.

He pointed out that protest signs and banners had been already prepared, as it would be cumbersome for scores of people traveling on foot, in buses, and even atop trains to drag along unwieldy signs all the way from Central America.

Ogden also pointed out that many of the arrivals were surprisingly well-groomed and cleanly dressed for supposedly having just endured the 2,000-mile journey from Central America to Tijuana to turn themselves in to customs in the U.S. and seek asylum.

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Referring to a local Fox News report, Ogden noted: “It shows file footage of migrants [on top of] ‘the Beast’ train, but then shows fresh-looking women and children arriving in Tijuana on a comfortable chartered bus.”

A California spokesman for the group Fight Sanctuary State—whose Laotian wife got a green card and strictly followed U.S. citizenship-qualifying rules— told that same Fox News affiliate: “We support legal immigration, but if you want to come over and undermine our system and break our laws, you’re not welcome. They should have to prove their [need for] asylum, prior to getting to the border, and we shouldn’t let them in unless they’ve done that.”

The Department of Homeland Security announced: “DHS continues to monitor the remnants of the ‘caravan’ of individuals headed to our Southern border with the apparent intention of entering the U.S. illegally. A sovereign nation that cannot—or worse, chooses not—to defend its borders will soon cease to be a sovereign nation. The Trump administration is committed to enforcing our immigration laws—whether persons are part of this ‘caravan’ or not.”

Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor. He invites your thoughtful emails at [email protected].