The Illegal Immigrant Caravan: Made in Chicago

The Central American human caravan, at this writing somewhere in Mexico, still has a long way to go before it (illegally) reaches our southern border. The distance from its country of origin, Honduras, to the nearest U.S. city, McAllen, Tex., is more than a thousand miles. That’s quite a haul. The Bataan Death March of April 1942, an atrocity conducted at Japanese gunpoint, was only 65 miles long. Given the physical risks, there can be no doubt that the caravan’s march, under cover of humanitarian impulses, is being enabled from above. There is no other way these people could have traveled as far as they have. It thus should come as no shock that this project is the handiwork of a tight network of radical activists in America.

By various accounts, the center of gravity for this campaign is a Chicago organization called Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which translated from Spanish, means “People Without Borders.” That pretty much sums up the group’s philosophy. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, two prominent Pueblo Sin Fronteras activists, Denis Omar Contreras and Rodrigo Abeja, have embedded themselves in the caravan. And they are vocal. Shortly after the 4,000-to-7,000-strong phalanx entered Mexico from Guatemala, Contreras announced, “Welcome to Tapachula!” He and other leaders aren’t above Old School persuasion either. On October 18, Irineo Mujica, director of the group’s Mexican operations and a U.S. citizen, physically assaulted Mexican officials at a rally near the Guatemala-Mexico border, an act for which he was arrested.

Thanks especially to investigative work by Hayden Ludwig, a research associate with the Washington, D.C.-based Capital Research Center, we now know a good deal more about the motives and behavior of Pueblo Sin Fronteras than we did a month ago. Under the seemingly benign purpose of providing social services for the needy, notes Ludwig, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a project of a Chicago-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, La Familia Latina Unida, seeks to elicit public sympathy for political gain at the expense of American self-governance. This Central America-to-United States caravan is not the group’s first such campaign. This spring, in fact, Pueblo Sin Fronteras organized a much smaller march from Tapachula to San Diego.

That one didn’t quite make it to its destination. But the group hopes that its current campaign, given the intensive media focus, will create thousands of instant U.S. residents and establish a model for future caravans. The motive is palpably anti-American, of course. But it also is opposed to any country south of our border that would impede the caravan. In an October 21 press release, Pueblo Sin Fronteras accused the governments of Mexico and Central America of adopting “a policy of fear and racism imposed by the United States doing its dirty work and shouldering the cost of repressive tactics that do not take into account the root causes of this exodus.” The statement also demanded that Mexico become a “sanctuary country.” A San Francisco-based organizer for the group, Alex Mensing, declared, “It’s time the Guatemalan government stood up for its Honduran brothers and sisters.”

Pueblo Sin Fronteras and its sponsoring sister organization, La Familia Latina Unida, openly declare their intention to block any and all deportations of illegal immigrants. The two groups are functionally identical. They have overlapping staff and share a common address, 2176 West Division Street in Chicago. The founder of La Familia Latina Unida, Elvira Arellano, is a special piece of work. A Mexican national, Arellano first entered the U.S. in 1997 but was promptly sent home for using fraudulent documents. She illegally re-entered the U.S. later that year, settling in Yakima, Washington. In 1999, she gave birth to a son on our soil, in the process making him an automatic U.S. citizen. Not long after that, she resettled in Chicago. In 2002, she was arrested for Social Security fraud while working at her cleaning job at O’Hare International Airport and eventually was convicted. Facing deportation, she won three stays of her scheduled removal from the country. By August 2006, she was out of legal options. But rather than go home, the ever-persistent Ms. Arellano very publicly, and to great applause, sought and received sanctuary inside Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago whose street address is 2176 West Division Street – small world. The following August, Arellano, announcing that she would continue to defy our immigration authorities, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, where she was arrested and then deported. After several years of nursing her wounds in Mexico, she returned to the U.S. in March 2014 under a grant of asylum.

La Familia Latina Unida, inconveniently, had its IRS 501(c)(4) nonprofit status revoked in May 2017 after failing to file the required Form 990 for three consecutive years. That said, it continues to operate in conjunction with Pueblo Sin Fronteras and another Chicago outfit known as Centro Sin Fronteras Community Services Network, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit headquartered at Lincoln United Methodist Church, located at 2009 W. 22nd Place. Form 990 tax returns for the period 2013-17 indicate that Centro Sin Fronteras received a combined $576,610 in public support for providing a wide range of Hispanic immigrant-related social services, including health care screening, legal referrals and financial counseling. The center received two grants in 2017, one for $4,000 from the American Heart Association for outreach to the Latino community on the effects of consuming soda and other high-sugar foods and the other for $7,646 from the Chicago-based Resurrection Project to conduct workshops on the immigration and citizenship process. Predating the most recent five-year period, the center received far larger grants from Left-leaning philanthropies such as the National Immigration Forum and the Public Welfare Foundation.

The married couple running the center, Emma Lozano (president) and Walter “Slim” Coleman (treasurer, program chairman), serve as pastors of the aforementioned Lincoln United Methodist Church. They are also avowed supporters of open borders and a moratorium on all deportations. Ms. Lozano has been especially active in conducting campaigns for automatic citizenship and voter registration for “undocumented” immigrants. Back in June 2007, at a breakout session of the annual convention of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill., this writer witnessed her obsessiveness. After giving a pro forma talk with the requisite sentimentality, she concluded with the battle cry, “Don’t mess with Tejas!” Lozano’s Spanish pronunciation of the Lone Star State was no accident. She long has claimed that the United States “stole” Mexican territory following America’s victory in the Mexican-American War of 1846-48.

These are the people who have organized the Central American caravan headed our way. They are determined to promote mass Hispanic immigration, without any consideration given over to American interests, identity or law. Our own political leadership’s generally reflexive unwillingness to challenge such activists largely explains in large measure why these caravans materialized in the first place. These street radicals are well-connected to Hispanic-American political leaders, especially Chicago Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who, if one remembers, walked out of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address this January to protest Trump’s “racism.” They know as well as anyone that when thousands of people illegally cross our southern border in unison, they overwhelm our Border Patrol and effectively become immune to arrest. The march, in essence, is a dare for America to use military force against the marchers.

President Trump, for one, isn’t about to blink. He recently ordered more than 5,000 troops to the Mexican border, on top of the roughly 2,000 National Guard forces already there, in the event the caravan attempts to enter the U.S. The president is absolutely right to call this an invasion. While not a military attack, the march is a highly-organized incursion into our sovereign territory – with an implied promise of more caravans to come if this one works out. No self-respecting nation can afford to be a patsy and sit passively in the face of this provocation. In laying down the gauntlet, this incestuous network of Chicago-based radical organizations is severely testing our capacity for self-restraint.