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Border Security

Key Question: Who Is Funding and Supplying the Migrant Caravan?

Despite the presence of hundreds of American journalists covering the marchers, there are far more questions than answers

Who is funding the latest Central American migrant caravan traveling hundreds of miles to the U.S.? It’s a key question, but no one really seems to know the answer, at least not for sure.

There are some basic facts, however.

“Who is funding the migrant ‘caravan’? Each migrant’s passage can cost as much as $7K each. Per capita income Honduras is $2.3 K,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham wondered last week.

Although there are no comprehensive answers to this question, a caravan now brimming with upward of 7,000 migrants began its trek last week from Honduras through Guatemala to Mexico, hoping ultimately to enter the U.S. and claim asylum.

“But a lot of money has been passing to people to come up and try and get to the border by Election Day, because they think that’s a negative for us,” President Donald Trump claimed, without citing evidence, during a rally in Montana on Thursday.

“The one thing, they stick together, but they wanted that caravan and there are those that say that caravan didn’t just happen. It didn’t just happen,” Trump said.

Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday during an appearance hosted by The Washington Post that “the president of Honduras told me this was organized by leftist groups in Honduras and financed by Venezuela.” But no specific evidence other the Honduran official’s claim was offered.

A caravan in April was funded by Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), which is a project of La Familia Latina Unida, a Chicago, Illinois-based 501(c)(4) illegal immigration advocacy group.

These groups have been organizing and aiding migrants in seeking asylum in the U.S. since at least 2010, but there is no clear organizer and little information regarding how the latest caravan was organized, who did it, or who is funding and supplying it.

Related: Caravan ‘Plays Perfectly into’ Trump’s Hands Ahead of the November Midterms

News photos and videos show dozens of caravan migrants catching rides on flatbed trucks. Some floated across a river separating Mexico and Guatemala on rafts run by smugglers, The Wall Street Journal noted.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) shared a video on Twitter of caravan migrants in a line receiving cash in Guatemala. Although he suggested that liberal billionaire activist George Soros or other Democrats were funding the migrants in the video, Soros’ group, the Open Society Foundation, has denied funding the migrant caravan.

Even so, at least two unidentified men in the video are clearly handing out cash to marchers as they are urged to keep moving forward.

“We can save you the trouble, Congressman: Neither Mr. Soros nor Open Society are funding this effort. We do support the historic U.S. commitment to welcoming people fleeing oppression and violence in their homelands. Maybe you could investigate why they feel the need to flee,” the organization tweeted in response to Gaetz.

Guatemalan journalist Luis Assardo told The New York Times that local merchants collected money and gave it to the migrants, also offering them food, shelter and clothing.

And there is Bartolo Fuentes, an activist and former Honduran politician, who had been traveling with the caravan, but was detained in Guatemala last week after crossing the border.

Officials there deported him to Honduras. Fuentes was believed by Guatemalan officials to be centrally involved in mobilizing the latest caravan, although reports differ to the extent he was involved.

“Who is paying for this Central American caravan of 3,000 people so they can attack American sovereignty? If this caravan succeeds how big will the next one be? Why do news media and the Democrats favor law breakers?” former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) tweeted last week, when the caravan estimate was 3,000 migrants.

Gingrich added Friday, while the caravan estimate was 4,000 people, “If the new reports are correct, the ‘attack caravan’ from Central America is up to 4,000 people. If Laura Ingraham’s estimate is right and it costs about $7,000 per person, where is the $28 million coming from. This is $28 million to attack American sovereignty.”

“Who’s paying for all this?” Gingrich also asked on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.” “And, by the way, if it’s an American group paying somebody to come and break the law. That’s called aiding and abetting, and that’s a crime.”

Although some are speculating that Democrats are involved in supporting the migrant caravan, others are skeptical.

“It’s a very powerful issue,” Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier said Tuesday on “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino.” “I don’t know if there is evidence that Democrats or Democratic groups have funded any of this. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense, because it’s really empowered the GOP as a talking point with just two weeks to go” until the midterm elections.

“The bottom line is protecting the border, and talking about not letting this caravan in is amazingly powerful as an election issue,” Baier added.

Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday during a forum hosted by The Washington Post that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez told him the caravan “was organized by leftist groups in Honduras and financed by Venezuela.”

One thing’s for certain: There are far more questions than answers on who is paying the bills for the latest migrant caravan during its northward journey.

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PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected].