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Immigration

Fmr. head of Guatemalan intelligence says manipulating migrant’s caravans could be likened to ‘genocide’

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Former head of Guatemalan intelligence Mario Duarte joined Sara on the ‘Sara Carter Show’ podcast Thursday to discuss the migrant caravan that is making its way to the US-Mexico border and the possible threats that are coming with it.

A caravan of thousands of migrants is currently traveling from Honduras through the Guatemalan border and will eventually arrive at the US-Mexico border. Many of the migrants were manipulated to join the caravan and others in the caravan have been connected to criminal activity, Duarte said.

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Sara Carter had traveled to Guatemala on numerous occasions over the past several years and traveled with Duarte to the Honduran border when the large waves of migrants began making their way up to the border during President Donald Trump’s administration. Even then, the wave of migrants appeared to be organized by outside groups.

To think that there are people using these poor individuals as a political statement, as a private picketing army. In my book, that could be even called genocide

Mario Duarte

“The way I see it, it is the weaponizing of those who need, people are being manipulated to join these caravans, obviously, because they have a need, they need a job. There is no opportunities here in Central America or not enough opportunities for them. So they’re just trying to find a way to get to the American dream, which is still there, you know, it’s still an ideal still what people want,” Duarte said.

“As long as there is someone offering them something, they’ll do whatever it takes,” said Duarte. “They will join the caravans, they’ll act, you know, violently, that’s what we just saw here in Guatemala.”

The Arrival

Duarte explained that the most recent caravan of between 7,000 and 9,000 migrants, split into two parts, and arrived at the Guatemalan border earlier this week. The majority of the migrants refused to go through the process of registering or taking a COVID-19 test and of the few that did some were found to be COVID-19 positive.

He expects the number of migrant caravans heading to the United States to increase as spring approaches.

“They just broke through the border,” Duarte said. “We had a police line, we had our security forces at the border and they just pushed through. They broke it, they came into the country, they violated the Guatemalan national sovereignty.”

Moreover, Duarte said the migrants sat in the road and caused an 8-hour traffic jam. Most of the migrants turned around and went back, Duarte said. Another caravan is already being organized and heading to the U.S., he alleged.

“We’re hearing that there is another caravan getting together in Honduras even bigger,” he said.

“Again, what’s going to happen with them? What are they gonna do? How they’re going to behave or act?” Duarte questioned.

“The problem here is that these caravans are becoming pretty much uncontrollable, people cannot handle them, the government cannot handle them. So what’s going to happen when they come to the southern border of the United States?”

The Threat Equation

Duarte then explained that intelligence agents use a “threat equation” to determine how big the foreign or domestic threat is.

“You take three things into account: intention, capability, and opportunity,” Duarte said.

“The thing is that with the caravans, they meet all three. They have the opportunity to come in two different countries, in this case, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States, if they’re trying to. Then capability, obviously, they have it, they proved they can do it. And then intention, they are doing it. We know they intend to actually get to the southern border.”

On top of that, many migrants may be carrying the coronavirus disease, causing the virus to spread throughout the countries they travel to.

“We know that they are carrying, unfortunately, in this case, a virus inside a huge caravan. Guatemala tested several people. The first batch of tests, 100% of them resulted positive. Now, you’re talking about a huge mass of people that are most likely contaminated with COVID-19. They become not only a focus of contagion, but also a direct factor of contagion. That means people will go to certain places, and that will just spread like crazy.”

He continued, “So once these things are met in this equation, you can talk about now that you are facing an actual threat. So these caravans are threat now to the national security of three different countries.”

According to Duarte, many of these migrants may also be criminals.

“According to some intelligence sources… they estimate that 1000 gang members are infiltrating these caravans, plus countless human traffickers. A lot of them are carrying weapons, a lot of them are carrying drugs.”

“Now you’re talking about transnational crime and transnational organized crime.”

Who is organizing the the migrant caravans?

Duarte blames the caravan organizers for “pulling the strings.”

“There’s someone who’s handling them, someone who’s organizing them. There is no other way to look at this. I understand the part from a humane perspective, these are people need, but not the organizers, not the people behind them, not the ones helping them, not the ones telling them where to go, who to talk to at certain places, feeding them, giving them money. Yes, some people… out of a sense of humanity, help them, but someone is behind them and someone is pulling the strings.”

Duarte said many of the migrants are being lied to and are told once they reach America they will be offered asylum and amnesty.

“These are poor people that are being taken advantage of they’re being manipulated, obviously, they are being offered something. Offered the opportunity to reach the American dream,” he said.

“Those are the real criminals, because you’re talking about kids, children, women, young women, being exposed to all these pedophiles, these heartless cartel members,” he said. “You just have to look at Homeland Security statistics on their websites. How many of those Latino girls that reached the border were raped multiple times with STDs, some of them even pregnant? That’s what these kids are exposed to. And then you’re talking about the elderly, most of them don’t make it all the way over there.”

He added “to think that there are people using these poor individuals as a political statement, as a private picketing army. In my book, that could be even called genocide.”

“To me, that’s genocide, because they are targeting a specific group of people from a specific country,” he lamented. ” So those people who organized it should be investigated very harshly. And they are not only in Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, a lot of them are in the United States. There’s also a lot in Europe and other countries, and a lot of them are unfortunately hidden inside multilateral agencies as well.”

You can follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Economy

NY Lawmakers want to tax tech giants to get $500M to fund unemployment benefits for illegal migrants

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New York lawmakers are debating over a proposed Democratic initiative that would pave the way for a multibillion-dollar fund designed to provide unemployment benefits for illegal immigrants. Spearheaded by state Senator Jessica Ramos, a Queens Democrat, the proposal has ignited passionate discussions within the Senate Finance Committee, where it currently awaits further deliberation.

The Center Square reports the proposal would utilize a $500 million trust fund earmarked specifically to offer jobless benefits for individuals who find themselves ineligible for traditional unemployment payments and other public assistance programs. To finance this ambitious endeavor, proponents of the plan are advocating for the imposition of a novel tax targeting tech behemoths like Google and Amazon. This tax, aimed at digital advertising revenue, is projected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to sustain the fund.

Ramos has alluded to her belief that migrants are a fundamental contribution to the state’s economy. Despite their authorization to work, payment of taxes, and active involvement in the labor force, undocumented immigrants face a glaring disparity—they are excluded from accessing vital safety nets like unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs.

In a social media post, Ramos cited the expiration of federal unemployment insurance for freelancers and the depletion of the Excluded Workers Fund. She argues vehemently for a safety net aligned with the evolving dynamics of the labor market, one that extends support to all workers, regardless of their immigration status.

The proposed fund, aptly named the Unemployment Bridge Program, outlines comprehensive eligibility criteria encompassing a spectrum of marginalized workers—from undocumented migrants to freelancers and individuals recently released from incarceration or immigrant detention. By establishing clear guidelines and procedures, the program endeavors to streamline the application process, ensuring equitable access to unemployment benefits for those in need.

The initiative comes in the wake of prolonged deliberations regarding jobless benefits for undocumented immigrants and nontraditional workers in New York. Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state previously allocated $2.1 billion to the Excluded Workers Fund, offering a lifeline to those excluded from conventional unemployment benefits.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 underscores a commitment to supporting asylum seekers, with significant allocations directed towards housing and legal assistance. The proposal has met with opposition from Republicans, who argue for prioritizing legal residents and taxpayers in the allocation of state resources. Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt contends that limited resources should be reserved exclusively for those who have contributed to the state’s tax base.

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