A clip of the video has been viewed more than 1 million times on Twitter, with the full version attracting 1.5 million views on the Banned.video hosting site, which is operated by Jones’ Infowars.
During the video, Jones and other members of the Infowars team claim migrant children from a processing camp in Donna, Texas, are being taken to a COVID processing center in McAllen. Jones claims that the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley will then provide the children with debit cards containing $1,200, before they are “released into the United States into a destination or city of their choice.”
The clip then shows a man wearing a “staff” T-shirt outside the Catholic Charities center in McAllen, placing five children and one female adult into the back of a hatchback car.
Jones and other members of the Infowars team, as well as conservative commentator Drew Hernandez, ask the man why there are no seat belts or proper car seats in the back of the vehicle for the children.
As the man attempts to drive away, Jones steps in front of the car and yells, “You’ve got those children in there illegally,” accusing the driver of “smuggling” the children.
Another man questions the driver about his connection to the charity, while repeatedly asking where he is taking the children.
The camera pans to the back of the car to show how one small child is sitting on the lap of the woman.
Jones and the men continue to yell at the driver for not having protection for the children in the back while trying to ascertain where they are going.
A police officer then arrives at the scene to speak to the driver and asks for his I.D.
Jones continues to accuse the man of taking part in “human smuggling.”
The clip ends with the children and the woman, who the driver says is the mother of at least one of them, exiting the vehicle. It is not clear what happened to the children next.
In a statement to Newsweek, Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, said the video was a “contrived misrepresentation” of the organisation’s work.
“The video clip is a staged confrontation interrupting the goodwill of someone
providing assistance in the form of transportation for three mothers and their children to the Humanitarian Respite Center,” Pimentel said.
“Ideally, the children should have been wearing seat belts; unfortunately, this was not the case in this instance.
“The Humanitarian Respite Center and Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley are not involved in any human smuggling or trafficking networks.
“Instead, we have worked tirelessly with Presidents Obama, Trump and Biden and their administrations, as well as with local elected leaders, to ensure that all asylum-seeking and citizen families alike are treated with human dignity and given clean clothes, food and a moment of rest at the Humanitarian Respite Center.”
The video has sparked discussion on social media, including from others who also dismissed the incident as a stunt. Some pointed out that viewers could not take the word of arguably the most famous conspiracy theorist in the world.
While the video does not show any real evidence that the children were victims of “smuggling,” as Jones claims, some social media users have praised him for apparently stopping such an operation.
Others have suggested that if the video is genuine, Jones should at least be applauded for preventing the car full of children from driving away.
Conservative comedian Tim Young tweeted: “I definitely didn’t have Alex Jones legitimately throwing himself in front of a van to rescue kids being smuggled on my 2021 bingo card. You may not like him, but it’s an important video to see.”
Kimberly Klacik, the Republican nominee for Maryland’s 7th congressional district, said: “Alex Jones saving children from human trafficking is the best thing I’ve seen all year.”
YouTuber Keemstar tweeted to his 2.8 million followers: “If Alex Jones really saved these children he deserves some praise!”
Robby Starbuck, a music video director and Republican candidate for Congress from Tennessee, wrote: “Even if you hate Alex Jones I urge you to watch this clip because it reveals an incredibly important fact about our border crisis. Kids are smuggled in, vulnerable to traffickers, treated like dirt and funneled through a system where cartels, private orgs + traffickers profit.”
Other viewers and social media users maintained that they did not trust Jones, who has been banned from virtually all social media and tech platforms for spreading misinformation.
In 2017, Jones’ own attorney said in court that the Infowars host was “playing a character” and his claims—including his notorious suggestion that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax—shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Digital media executive Phil Ranat tweeted: “Alex Jones stopping a child smuggler is about as real as YouTube gold digger pranks.”
Former New York congressional candidate Tom Hillgardner added: “Performance Artist Alex Jones is pretending he is stopping child trafficking and human smuggling ‘at’ the Border when, at best, he is uncovering a seat belt violation.”
The McAllen Police Department has been contacted for comment.
This article has been updated with comment from the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.