Border Bedlam

In the front-page story of American Free Press Issue 51&52, mailed out on Friday (and available online for digital subscribers here), reporter John Friend describes what he found upon traveling to Mexico to investigate firsthand the current situation with the Central American immigrant caravan on the ground in Tijuana, just outside the U.S. border in California.

By John Friend

TIJUANA, Mexico—Hundreds of migrants are camping in tents in a public street just outside the Benito Juarez sports complex in Tijuana, Mexico, home to a makeshift shelter set up by the migrants, local officials, and charity groups to assist the thousands of mostly Central American migrants who have trekked thousands of miles in an attempt to enter the United States.

Local authorities closed the sports complex late last month due to unsanitary and squalid living conditions and set up a new camp in the Mariano Matamoros neighborhood of Tijuana, roughly 10 miles from the U.S. border. That hasn’t stopped hundreds of migrants from continuing to squat near the sports complex, which this reporter visited last weekend to get a firsthand account of the ongoing situation.

Men, women, and children are camping in tents and other handmade shelters in a public street next to the sports complex, which is a roughly 10-minute drive from the main U.S. border-crossing entry. The vast majority of those camping are young men aged 16-25, based on this reporter’s estimation. According to locals, thousands of migrants had been living in or near the sports complex in previous weeks, but many have either relocated, attempted to cross the border, or have begun the arduous journey back home after realizing gaining asylum or refugee status in the United States is a much more difficult process than they had anticipated or were promised.

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The sports complex and surrounding area is covered with garbage, discarded items, and human waste. The main entryway to the complex is locked, and signs are posted indicating the facility is closed. Local faith-based organizations and charities in the area are providing warm meals and other basic living essentials to the migrants, while local law enforcement officials keep a close eye on the situation.

This reporter spoke with one young man named Gilbert camping near the sports complex. Gilbert, originally from Honduras, joined the caravan of migrants several weeks ago and made his way to Tijuana with the aim of entering and eventually working in the U.S. Gilbert explained that he had been camping near the sports complex for roughly 20 days after arriving in Tijuana with some of his friends who fled Honduras with him.

“In Honduras, life is so hard right now,” Gilbert told this reporter. “My plan is to stay over here to work, stay over here for one year or two years, and then I want to go to the United States to work.” According to Gilbert, he obtained a one-year visa from the Mexican government, which allows him to work legally in the country. Thus far, however, he has failed to obtain gainful employment.

Reports have emerged that many of the migrants are sick, with many having respiratory diseases, lice, and chicken pox, among other common ailments. Due to the unsanitary living conditions and lack of clean water, disease has spread, raising concerns among health experts and local officials in Tijuana. Gilbert confirmed that many of the migrants he was living with near the sports complex were sick.

The majority of the migrants appear to have been under the impression that gaining entry to the United States would be a relatively simple process. They were expecting to cross the border and either obtain a visa from U.S. customs officials or be granted refugee status. Sadly, most appear to have at least temporarily abandoned their families in their home countries in their attempt to enter the U.S.

Leslie Yoana Coban left her four children with their father in Honduras before joining the caravan and traveling to Tijuana. She recently told reporters she is waiting to cross the border, perhaps illegally using a “coyote”—which costs migrants thousands of dollars—to be smuggled illegally into the United States.

“Yesterday, I cried when I spoke to them because the one that’s four asked me if I would return. I said no,” Ms. Coban explained to reporters. “I speak with them, and I tell them that I’m fine, to not worry, and to take care, that I love them very much.”

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Coban’s attitude mirrors that of many of the migrants this reporter encountered at the sports complex.

“Yeah, everybody thought that the border would just open and we were going to cross,” Christian Chavez, a 24-year-old Honduran migrant, explained to reporters recently. “But it’s a difficult thing.”

Local officials in Tijuana have expressed concern and frustration with the caravan situation, which is costing the city thousands of dollars per day, according to officials. Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum, who has been critical of not only the migrants but also Mexico’s handling of the situation, estimates the city is spending $25,000 per day feeding and housing the migrants.

John Friend is a freelance author based in California.

 




Caravan Puts Trump Legacy on the Line

With President Trump having been elected largely on an anti-immigration/border security platform, an opportunity for him to defend his line in the sand—and impact the mid-term election outcome—is currently at hand. Writes Buchanan: “As of Thursday, a caravan of 4,000 refugees without visas had crossed from Honduras into Guatemala and was heading toward Mexico. By Election Day, it will either have been stopped, or it will be here. And this caravan is a portent of things to come.”

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Our mainstream media remain consumed with the grisly killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and how President Donald Trump will deal with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Understandably so, for this is the most riveting murder story since O.J. Simpson and has strategic implications across the Middle East.

Yet far more critical to the future of our civilization is the ongoing invasion of the West from the Third World.

Consider the impact of the decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015 to throw open Germany’s doors to 1 million refugees from Syria’s civil war.

Last weekend, in a crushing blow to Merkel, the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of her CDU, won its smallest share of the vote in half a century, 37%. Her coalition party, the SPD, saw its share of the Bavarian vote fall to a historic low of less than 10%.

The right-wing Alternative for Deutchland saw its support rise to 10% and has become a force in German politics. Some conservatives are urging the CDU to adopt the AfD hardline on illegal immigration.

The message sent by the Bavarian electorate is the message voters across Europe have been sending to their own capitals for years: You are failing in your first duty—defense of the homeland from foreign invasion. Mass migration of unassimilable peoples and cultures from a global South represents an existential threat to our Europe.

As Merkel’s chancellorship approaches its end, French President Emmanuel Macron, her progressive EU partner, has seen his approval fall to below 30%.

The U.S.-led NATO alliance may guard the Baltic and Black Sea regions against a Russian invasion from the east. But in Central, Southern, and Western Europe, the more feared invaders are the peoples of Africa and the Muslim world, whose numbers are expected to triple or quadruple by this century’s end.

And as their numbers grow, so, too, does their desperation to escape, even at risk of their lives, the poverty, wars, and repression of their homelands to cross the Med and fill the empty spaces left by a depopulating Europe.

It also now appears that the U.S. elections, not three weeks away, may be affected by another immigration crisis on the U.S. border.

Get Out of CashAs of Thursday, a caravan of 4,000 refugees without visas had crossed from Honduras into Guatemala and was heading toward Mexico. By Election Day, it will either have been stopped, or it will be here. And this caravan is a portent of things to come.

According to The Washington Post, during FY 2018, which ended last month, 107,212 members of “family units” crossed over into the U.S., “obliterating the previous record of 77,857 set in 2016.”

Citing DHS figures, the Post adds, “Border patrol agents arrested 16,658 family members in September alone, the highest one-month total on record and an 80% increase from July.”

When Trump, under intense political fire, ended his “zero tolerance” policy of separating refugees from their children, this message went out to Mexico and Central America:

Bring your kids with you when you cross the border. They will have to stay with you, and they cannot be held for more than 20 days. Thus, when they are released, you will be released to await a hearing on your claim of asylum. The odds are excellent that you can vanish into the U.S. population and never be sent back.

Enraged, Trump has threatened to cut off aid to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala if they do not stop the caravans and has warned Mexico he will use the U.S. military to secure our border.

Unwanted mass migration is the issue of our time, as there is no foreseeable end to it before it alters America irremediably.

As these migrants are almost all poor, not highly skilled, and do not speak English, most will join that segment of our population that pays no income taxes but qualifies for social welfare benefits like food stamps, medical care, and free education in our public schools.

They are thus a net drain upon the resources of a nation that is already, at full employment, running a deficit of $779 billion a year.

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These migrants, however, are a present and future benefit to the Democratic Party that built and maintains our mammoth welfare state, and which, in presidential elections, routinely wins 70 to 90% of the votes of people whose trace their ancestry to Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Not without reason, Democrats believe that if they can change the composition of the American electorate, they can control America forever.

If Donald Trump was elected on any one issue, it was immigration and his promises to secure the border, build the wall, and halt the invasion.

How he deals with the impending crisis of the migrant caravan may affect both the fate of his party in November and his presidency in 2020.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever and previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? and Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War, all available from the AFP Online Store.

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Discovery of Border Tunnels Has U.S. Rethinking ‘the Wall’

The discovery of more and more extensive tunnels under America’s southern border—including a 600-foot-long tunnel recently found connecting Mexican territory with an abandoned Arizona restaurant—are causing concern that adding fence and wall sections may incentivize transnational gangs and cartels to dig even more tunnels. 

By Mark Anderson

WASHINGTON D.C.—When the House of Representatives on Sept. 25 took up pivotal legislation about homeland security, it became clear that Americans might need to rethink the border wall concept. Why? According to Texas Republican Reps. Michael McCaul and Pete Sessions, among others, law enforcement authorities are finding tunnels—lots of tunnels—of varying length, depth, and sophistication crossing from Mexico into the U.S.

According to McCaul, earlier in September, a 600-foot-long tunnel was found connecting Mexican territory with an abandoned Arizona restaurant. He also recalled that in 2010, a tunnel that reportedly went under the Rio Grande River was found near El Paso, Texas.

About 200 cross-border tunnels have been discovered since 1990, and that’s just counting the ones the government knows about, said McCaul, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee.

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In the House chamber, where this writer was the only reporter in attendance for the nearly hour-long border session, Sessions remarked: “Drugs, crime, and gangs have been streaming in” through these invisible passageways, referring to the lengths that MS-13 Salvadoran gang members and drug cartelists will go to enter the U.S. Sessions added: “No part of the U.S. is safe if the southern border is not effectively taken care of.”

Of the numerous bipartisan bills focused on border security, the Border Tunnel Task Force Act, H.R. 6740, is key.

Across the aisle, strong support for this and related legislation came from Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.). He spoke eloquently on the House floor in support of Sessions and McCaul, exhibiting an unusually cooperative attitude given the sharp partisan differences that have been further aggravated by the controversy over conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Richmond, echoing his Republican colleagues, stressed that not only marijuana but also cocaine, heroin, people, and contraband are being found in these tunnels—some of which have functional water and sewer systems.

Richmond noted that adding fence and wall sections may incentivize transnational gangs and cartels to dig even more tunnels.

The Louisiana legislator has sponsored H.R.6620, a bill called the Protecting Critical Infrastructure Against Drones and Emerging Threats Act. Yes, you read that correctly. Congress is now confronting the specter of the drug cartels using unmanned aerial systems, or drones, to fly drugs and other contraband over the U.S. border—given the increasing availability, affordability, and sophistication of drone technology.

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Under these legislative measures, federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies will be authorized to seriously address the tunnel problem, while the Department of Homeland Security will be tasked with conducting threat assessments regarding drones.

This is not to say that a wall has no purpose. CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, for her popular “Full Measure” show, this past spring traveled to Laredo, Texas and—despite the mass media cartel’s typical criticism of pro-border wall stances—saw firsthand that Border Patrol agents need a physical barrier that provides a containment function to keep the flood of illegal aliens at bay. This enables the agents to focus on highly risky locations and apprehend enough border-crossers to not lose the battle altogether.

Another bill, H.R. 6742, the Secure Border Communications Act, like the above-named bills, was approved by the House and sent on to the Senate where it now sits in committee. It calls for ensuring that Customs and Border Enforcement agents have inter-operable, secure radios so they can better communicate without information being intercepted by cartels or gangs.

What do you think? To weigh in, call your Congress and Senate members at 202-224-3121 or 225-3121. To write to any House member, put their name, House of Representatives, Washington D.C. 20515; or for the Senate, Senator’s name, U.S. Senate, Washington D.C. 20510. Also contact their district and state offices.

Mark Anderson is AFP’s roving editor.




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].




Judge Will Rule on Arpaio Case Soon

Attorneys for retired Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio are “highly optimistic” the lawman will get a favorable verdict in the Obama DOJ-carryover case against him. Arpaio has been charged with misdemeanor contempt of court for turning over illegal aliens who had been arrested by his department to federal immigration authorities—one of the key things that got him repeatedly re-elected by the people of a county that borders Mexico and appreciated his work.

By Mark Anderson

PHOENIX, Ariz.—Mark Goldman, one of the attorneys for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the veteran lawman’s criminal trial that just wrapped up in Arizona, says he’s highly optimistic that Arpaio will not be convicted, because the three essential conditions under which he could be found guilty of a misdemeanor “contempt of court” charge were not met in court.

“We feel very happy,” Goldman told this AFP writer July 7, the day after closing arguments were heard in this widely watched case. The trial, initially expected to last at least eight days, ended up with only four days of testimony in late June, plus closing arguments on July 6.

Goldman feels good about the case because federal prosecutors evidently didn’t come close to proving even the first of those three conditions, let alone the other two.

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The first condition is that a 2011 federal court injunction—purportedly issued to try to stop Arpaio from apprehending illegal aliens—must have been “clear and definite” in its meaning. While Arpaio is accused of contempt of court for allegedly defying the injunction, it appears the injunction was worded too vaguely for federal prosecutors to have a clear shot at winning their case against the popular lawman.

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During Arpaio’s time as Maricopa County sheriff, the former Drug Enforcement Agency officer’s deputies would turn over apprehended illegal aliens to the federal government for processing, due to serious concerns in the densely populated county—just a few miles from the border—about drug-running, human trafficking, and other crimes fostered by U.S. open-borders policies and attitudes.

In federal district court in Phoenix, Judge Susan Bolton “picked up on the fact that the [injunction] was anything but clear and definite,” Goldman summarized. He stressed that, since testimony from both sides revealed that the 40-page injunction failed to be clear and definite, then the other two conditions that the prosecution trotted out could not realistically be met.

Those other conditions were that Arpaio was aware of the injunction’s details and that he knowingly and willfully violated the injunction.

“No one who testified understood [the injunction’s meaning] when it was issued,” Goldman told American Free Press .

He said that the apparent clincher came when the star witness of the Department of Justice, Tim Casey—Arpaio’s former attorney, who evidently turned against Arpaio—admitted during cross-examination that the injunction was not clear and definite. “To me, that’s enough to make this whole case go away . . . so Joe’s feeling pretty good at this point,” Goldman said.

Arpaio himself was not yet at liberty to directly speak with AFP, pending the judge’s decision.

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Also according to Goldman, Joe Sousa, who was Arpaio’s lieutenant for the human-smuggling unit at the sheriff’s department, testified for the defense that, with Casey serving as Arpaio’s attorney at the time, never once did Casey inform Sousa or the department that they may have incorrectly interpreted the injunction when going about their job of apprehending those found to be illegal aliens during standard law enforcement, which the feds have constantly labeled as “racial profiling.”

Casey had free access to the smuggling unit, and it would have been his job to know of or discover a possible injunction violation and communicate his views to the sheriff’s department, Goldman added.

“Joe never interfered. And he had Casey as an attorney to instruct [Joe’s] subordinates on how to interpret the injunction,” Goldman said.

Since Arpaio was unable to secure a jury trial, Judge Bolton will decide the matter. That won’t happen until July 21 or later, however, the date that attorneys for both sides were asked to submit briefs on “applicable law” to aid the judge in deciding this case.

Prosecutors have maintained that Arpaio intentionally and defiantly prolonged patrols to apprehend illegal aliens for 17 months after the injunction was issued. But as July 21 approaches, it appears that this narrative is part of an effort by the Justice Department, in a carryover from the Obama administration, to conduct a political hit against Arpaio.

That view is widely held, because the misdemeanor lawsuit, filed just days before the last sheriff’s election in November 2016, helped unseat Arpaio in his re-election bid.

Arpaio’s backers say that the case vividly illustrates one key way that left-leaning politicians and their cohorts in the courts, major media, and elsewhere go about discrediting concerted, effective efforts to secure America’s borders.

Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as the roving editor for AFP. Email him at [email protected]