We've been hearing all kinds of contradictory stories about the massive migrant caravan steadily making its way north across Mexico to the U.S. border, but what's it really like on the ground? Is it a group of desperate families who've spontaneously banded together to try to find a better life? Or is it something less noble and more orchestrated, as some reports suggest.
Conservative filmmaker Ami Horowitz decided to see for himself and brought his camera crew so others could get a glimpse at "the truth behind the caravan."
"The caravan is a giant group of people that emanated, for the most part, in Honduras and are heading up to the U.S.," Horowitz explains. "A lot has been said about this caravan, so I decided to go down, check it out for myself, and figure out what is the reality versus the fiction."
Horowitz took his crew down to the base camp for the caravan in the southern state of Oaxaca, which he describes as "an area of Mexico which is riddled with narco-crime and cursed with extreme poverty."
"Despite the framing of the caravan as being full of women and children, the reality on the ground is quite different. Approximately 90 to 95% of the migrants are male," notes Horowitz, over footage of rows and rows of men.
"The major narrative being pushed by the press is that the migrants are leaving Honduras because they are escaping extreme violence and that their lives are under constant threat, setting up the strategy that they will be able to enter the U.S. by asking for asylum," "he says. "So I started by asking them a simple question: Why are you coming to America?"
The answers he gets don't appear to align with the "extreme violence" claims. "Well, I'm looking for a better life — economic," says one male migrant. "I wish to get there and work there," another male migrant says. "Because in Honduras there are no jobs," says another. "We are looking for a better life, because we don't have jobs," another man agrees.
Most of the other migrants Horowitz features answer something similar: "For jobs," "To work." Some of the migrants cite education. "Because I want to finish my studies there," says one young man.
As for the "spontaneity" of the caravan, Horowitz demonstrates that it's anything but spontaneous: "There's a massive logistical effort underway, akin to moving an army," he explains, over footage of all of the manpower and resources required to keep the caravan operational. "And it's clearly costing someone millions of dollars for transportation, food, water, medicine and services that are being provided for members of the caravan."
"It's a supply chain that's being delivered by an army of trucks, which are all necessary to keep this enormous group moving forward," he continues over video of trucks filled with supplies and transport vehicles crammed with migrant men.
Along with the Mexican government, which is helping to escort the caravan, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which is supporting the caravan's efforts, are "ever-present" members of a group called Pueblo Sin Fronteras, or "People Without Borders," a self-described "immigration rights group" that is supporting and directing the caravan toward its final destination.
"They're the ones that seem to be most involved in organizing and mobilizing this caravan," says Horowitz. "The organization, as the name implies, is looking to create a world without borders, which seems to be one of the reasons why they organized this caravan in the first place, to flout American sovereignty."