Fact-Checking Donald Trump’s Caravan Claims [Opinion]

Donald Trump has said a lot of stuff about the caravan of thousands of immigrants coming to the U.S. from Honduras. Most of it has no basis in any sort of reality.

CIUDAD HIDALGO, MEXICO - OCTOBER 20: An immigrant jumps off a bridge to enter Mexico from the border with Guatemala as part of the immigrant caravan on October 20, 2018 in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
John Moore / Getty Images

Donald Trump has said a lot of stuff about the caravan of thousands of immigrants coming to the U.S. from Honduras. Most of it has no basis in any sort of reality.

“Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws! Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally.”

Trump tweeted out these words on Monday, according to NPR, and there’s a whole lot here in just this one tweet. Let’s unpack his comments one at a time to see which parts are true, if any.

With this tweet, Trump is referring to his own immigration ideas. Trump wants to build a border wall with Mexico and make limitations to legal immigration, according to NBC News. Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives have not agreed with these ideas, because Democrats have been pushing for immigration reform that makes the path to U.S. citizenship easier for newcomers to the country.

Trump’s claims are categorically untrue. Democrats offered Trump an immigration deal that would allow his border wall to be built and still maintain DACA, an immigration policy created during the Obama Administration. Trump turned this deal down, according to New York Magazine.

Trump has also blamed Democrats for the separation of children from their parents at the border, something that Trump-appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions implemented recently that has nothing to do with Democrats. Also on Monday, Trump tweeted that “criminals” and “unknown Middle Easterners” are among those in the caravan bound for the U.S.

“Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy [sic]. Must change laws!”

Many American journalists and journalists from around the world have been covering the caravan, and there is no evidence at all that Middle Easterners — either known or unknown — are traveling among the group. Likewise, there is no proof that anyone in the group is a criminal and there seems to be no basis at all for Trump to make this claim, NPR reports.

Several journalists have personally responded to Trump’s claim, saying that among the many thousands of people traveling none are of Middle Eastern descent. And for Trump’s wildest claim of all — that the caravan is populated by people who were paid by the Democrats just to disrupt the upcoming midterm elections — this one is almost too silly to even acknowledge.

CIUDAD HIDALGO, MEXICO - OCTOBER 20: An immigrant waits to get into a shelter for the night after crossing the border from Guatemala into Mexico on October 20, 2018 at Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  John Moore / Getty Images

“No one told us they’d give us money if we left. My wife and I made this decision,” said one immigrant.

“There’s no food. We’ve only eaten because Guatemalans have been good to us.”

“A lot of money’s been passing through people to come up and try to get to the border by election day, because they think that’s a negative for us. Number one, they’re being stopped. And number two, regardless, that’s our issue,” Trump said, as reported by The Guardian.

Trump may be referring to a video which was posted on social media by a Florida representative. In it, women and children are being given money — which some have claimed they were receiving as payment for “storming” the U.S. border.

A journalist on the ground interviewed several people about the video and learned that local merchants in Guatemala actually collected the cash in order to help the immigrants. The money was given to them so they can purchase food and supplies as needed. The video was shot in Guatemala, not Honduras, and was not given to the immigrants by American Democrats.