If It Looks Like An Invasion, It Probably Is

In late 2018, Politifact ran an article titled “Is the Migrant Caravan an Invasion.” Unsurprisingly, the so-called “fact checker,” concluded that it is not. According to experts cited by Politifact, “Invasions are armed operations organized with the intention of taking control of foreign sovereign territory through the use of force.” And, since “the migrants are not armed, organized, or intending to take control of U.S. territory,” their attempts to cross the border – illegally, en masse – don’t constitute an invasion. 

However, there are a number of border officials who might disagree with the fact checkers. In January of 2019 – shortly after Politifact, and several other mainstream media outlets took umbrage at the comparison of illegal aliens to invaders – a group of caravan migrants attacked border patrol agents with rocks and rushed the border. Their violent behavior was hardly that of people just trying to get away from poverty, crime and civil strife. And, despite pundits’ claims to the contrary it looked an awful lot like an attempted invasion.

Yet another migrant caravan has begun snaking its way from the troubled Northern Triangle, toward the United States. Mexico, finally growing tired of continual assaults on its sovereignty, sent officers from its immigration agency – the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) – to stop the caravanners. The migrants, ostensibly still peaceful and just fleeing chaos and corruption, viciously attacked the unarmed INM officials with rocks. The Washington Examiner posted footage of the confrontation. Once again, it looked more like an invasion than the arrival of pacifist mendicants seeking alms.

So, maybe it’s time to take another look at the migrant caravans using the standards relied upon by Politifact:

  • Clearly the individuals making up the caravans have been able to coordinate their efforts and act as a unit. And, as FAIR has noted on several occasions, the migrants are, in fact, very well organized. They have unambiguously articulated what they think the U.S. owes them, even going so far as to suggest that the U.S. pay them each $50,000 to go home.
  • While the caravan may not have firearms, they certainly experienced no shortage of projectile weapons. FAIR has repeatedly pointed out that, “Attacks where illegal aliens use rocks or other debris as weapons to attack law enforcement personnel have long been a major concern in border areas.” Rock-throwing illegal aliens have actually downed several immigration enforcement helicopters along the U.S.-Mexico border. And, in November of 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, was attacked by a rock throwing illegal alien as he toured the San Diego Sector.
  • When the caravan members attacked Mexican and American border officials, they were directly and deliberately attempting to take control of sovereign territory. How else can you characterize a violent assault on the officials of an independent state as they attempt to maintain the integrity of that state’s borders?

There’s an old expression, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.” And, the fact is, the migrant caravans look so much like primitive invasions, that the only true canard in the room is the mainstream media’s continued insistence that the migrants are nothing other than hapless victims with the purest of intentions.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    The Southern Border is a Serious Humanitarian Crisis Requiring a Physical Barrier

    With the Open Border Party (OBP) calling it immoral? The OBP needs therapy.

  2. avatar

    They are not “intending to take control of US territory”? Absurd on the face of it. Look at what has happened to California. Once a state that produced a lot of Republican governors and Congress people and frequently gave it’s electoral votes to Republican presidents, it’s now not even contestable. And the reason for that is “demographic changes”. If the parents are illegal then their four and five anchor babies become citizens and eventually voters. Mexico could not be happier with this situation, they have encouraged it.

    The extreme left, and that is the majority of the Democratic party now, are in denial about the border and other issues. There are major candidates supporting the “Green New Deal”, an agenda that is insanity defined. Rebuilding every structure in the US to make them “energy efficient” at an estimated cost of 90 TRILLION dollars? First of all, the biggest polluters in the world by far now are China and India. Second, the media keeps harping on every extremist prediction of global warming while the fact is that many of those same predictions were made a dozen years ago, and none of them have even remotely come true. A lot of the country has had a bitterly cold winter and this weekend temperatures are supposed to be 30 degrees below normal in most of the Midwest.

  3. avatar

    Of course it is, with intention of bringing down our country through heavy leaning on the social service programs, getting as much as possible from Medicaid through selling prescriptions, monopolizing section 8 housing, anchor kids on SSI, many other ways. But sadly, both sides of the political aisle want this and are encouraging it for cheap exploitable labor, liberal voters, and who knows what other reasons. Between collapse of social safety nets and young Americans buried in debt of college loans, we are probably headed for a major economic collapse. Anyone who believes in secured borders is called a racist. Nobody wants that label and majority of us Americans really want to help those in need. Sadly, we are going to get crushed under the burden of our charity.

  4. avatar

    If Trump doesn’t have DHS, the Border Patrol, or the US Army stop THIS caravan, then I’m Dee-Oh-En-Eee DONE with him politically. When is the “winning” going to start? Illegal aliens, and would-be illegals [those still outside our borders but ready to jump them] are laughing at us.