Media on Right Distort Story of Border ‘Caravans’

Coverage by conservative media of the relatively routine occurrence of migrant caravans ignores the fact that many participants plan to resettle in Mexico, not illegally enter the U.S.

“Mysterious group deploys ‘caravan’ of illegal aliens headed for U.S. border,” warned Frontpage Mag, a site run by conservative commentator David Horowitz. The Gateway Pundit suggested the real reason the migrants were trying to enter the U.S. And President Trump tweeted: “Getting more dangerous. ‘Caravans’ coming.” The narrative on the right this week mostly omitted that many people in the caravan planned to resettle in Mexico, not the U.S., the New York Times reports. It ignored how many of those who did intend to come here would probably go through the legal process of requesting asylum at a border checkpoint, something miles of new wall and battalions of additional border patrol would not have stopped.

The coverage became so distorted that Brandon Darby, who covers border migration for Breitbart News, pushed back. “I’m seeing a lot of right media cover this as ‘people coming illegally’ or as ‘illegal aliens.’ That is incorrect,” he wrote on Twitter. “They are coming to a port of entry and requesting refugee status. That is legal.” Darby told the Times it was regrettable that the relatively routine occurrence of migrant caravans — which organizers rely on as a safety-in-numbers precaution against the violence that can happen along the trek — was being politicized. The story of the caravan has been similarly exaggerated. The emotional outpouring from the right has been raw. This week, Fox TV host Tucker Carlson shouted “You hate America!” at an immigrants rights activist after he defended the people marching through Mexico.