Money, Support for Migrant ‘Caravans’ Flow Through Chicago

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Members of the second Central American migrant caravan continue their journey to the United States, at a Jalisco road, in Mexico, 13 November 2018. Over nine thousand Central Americans divided in several caravans travel across Mexico to the United States. EFE/Francisco Guasco (Newscom TagID: efephotos619389.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

Advocates of open borders quoted in media coverage of the migrant “caravan” moving north through Mexico are part of a network of U.S.-based groups funded in the past by left-leaning foundations, according to tax and financial records.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a Chicago-based nonprofit whose name means People Without Borders, is widely credited with organizing the caravans of migrants that traveled from Central America on trains and buses and on foot this year and last.

Two United Methodist churches in Chicago appear to be bases for People Without Borders, which is led by one of the pastors, documents show.

Several organizations are “consistently connected on various websites” and “have overlapping people, most notably Emma Lozano,” said Hayden Ludwig, a research analyst at Capital Research Center, naming the Chicago pastor.

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Capital Research Center, a Washington-based nonprofit that examines how foundations and charities spend money, analyzed tax and financial records related to People Without Borders. The Daily Signal reviewed this analysis and related documents and websites.

Information on the website and Facebook page of People Without Borders indicates that the advocacy group played a key role for at least the past decade in forming caravans that typically got started in Honduras or El Salvador before entering Guatemala to the north.

In April, a few hundred migrants traveled north together with support from People Without Borders, but they largely disbanded in Mexico City.

The latest caravan, which originated in Honduras in October before crossing into Guatemala and breaking through barriers to enter Mexico illegally, has ranged in size from a few hundred at its inception to several thousand. Twitter feeds from reporters covering the caravan in person estimated it was about 2 miles long.

When the caravan first arrived in Mexico, U.N. officials estimated roughly 7,000 migrants were heading north. A few days ago, many left Mexico City.

Media reports estimated that 4,000 to 5,000 migrants are heading toward the U.S.-Mexico border. In mid-November, dozens of migrants began arriving by busnear the U.S. border in Tijuana, some climbing the fencing. In the days since, hundreds of migrants have overwhelmed that city’s resources.

Supporting the Caravan

People Without Borders has avoided claiming a leadership role in the caravans, but its Facebook posts make clear that the group was coordinating logistical and financial support for migrants attempting to reach the U.S.

A woman at Chicago’s Lincoln United Methodist Church who identified herself as Cecilia Garcia told The Daily Signal in a phone interview that two different but allied groups are called People Without Borders, one domestic and based in Chicago and the other international.

“Our group has nothing to do with the caravan, but we are very supportive of the migrants,” Garcia said.

People Without Borders lists a “Caravan Support Fund” on Facebook. Several members have been quoted in both the American and Mexican press while traveling with the caravan.

They include Denis Omar Contreras, described in an Associated Press report as “a Honduran-born caravan leader.” Contreras has been quoted widely disputing allegations from President Donald Trump and other U.S. leaders who say the caravan may harbor terrorists and criminals.

Another activist with People Without Borders, Irineo Mujica, is quoted in the same story insisting that the caravan is a benign movement of people fleeing from violence and dire economic conditions in Central America.

Mujica, a Phoenix resident who is a dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S., is director of People Without Borders in Mexico. Last month, Mexican officialsarrested Mujica in Ciudad Hidalgo, a town in the southern part of the country. He was accused of property damage and resisting arrest, according to media reports.

Ludwig, the research analyst at Capital Research Center, has kept tabs on People Without Borders, its network of activists, and its relationship with the caravans of migrants. (The Contreras surname, Ludwig notes, sometimes is spelled Contera in media reports, such as one in the Los Angeles Times.)

Other open-borders activists affiliated with People Without Borders and participating in the caravan include Rodrigo Abeja, who has been quoted by NBC News, USA TodayThe Washington Post, and other news outlets. In statements to the media, Abeja joined other activists in denying that gang members or terrorists have infiltrated the caravan.

The Daily Signal sought comment from Alex Mensing, listed as a U.S. contact for People Without Borders. At publication time, Mensing had not responded.

In a voicemail, The Daily Signal asked Mensing how the group could say it has no organizational role, since several of its activists are taking part, as well as how open-borders advocates could be certain that criminal elements are not included in the caravans.

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