As the migration restrictions put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic are about to end, the United States fears an influx of migrants. But on social networks, many accounts raise the specter of migratory chaos by presenting as recent images of migrant caravans actually taken several months or even years ago.
Verification in a nutshell
- In recent days, several images have been shared on social networks allegedly showing an influx of migrants approaching the border between Mexico and the United States, on the eve of the expiration of “Title 42”, which has allowed since 2020 to deport migrants without delay.
- Two of them were taken in southern Mexico, in October 2019 and June 2022, and one in Guatemala in January 2021.
- A video shows the border between the United States and Mexico, but dates from March 2023.
- A last video was taken in February 2022 in Melilla, on the border between Morocco and Spain.
The details of the check
The “Title 42” (or “title 42”)a measure of the Trump administration extended by Joe Biden and which allowed during the Covid-19 pandemic to deport migrants to Mexico without delay, will end on the night of Thursday May 11 to Friday May 12, 2023.
In this context, the United States expects to see thousands of migrants arriving.
But if migrants have taken the direction of the American bordersome images, mostly shared by English-speaking accounts, have nothing to do with the current situation, and are instead used to raise the specter of migratory chaos.
The editorial staff of Porting News Observers reviews some of them.
Honduran migrants in southern Mexico in 2018
A caravan of migrants crossing a bridge, and extending as far as the eye can see. This photo was shared by Bernard B. KerikAmerican consultant and former police officer, in a post retweeted more than 7 000 times.
“USA’s Biggest Invasion Begins Thursday As Biden Lifts Title 42” also comments another tweet shared nearly 4 000 times.
But this image has nothing to do with the current situation. Thanks to a reverse image search (see here how to proceed), it can be found in many press articles like this one, published on November 11, 2018 by Radio-Canada.
“An aerial view of the Honduran migrant caravan en route to the United States, as they departed from the town of Arriaga in southern Mexico on October 27, 2018,” the caption read.
There is also another photo of the same scene on the Getty Images image bank.
In the fall of 2018, thousands of Hondurans had taken the road to the United States, in an attempt to flee the misery and violence of their country, a strategic transit point for the traffic of cocaine, and having one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
A migrant caravan in Mexico in June 2022
Another image taken in southern Mexico has also been widely shared in recent days.
It would show migrants, who would be preparing “to invade the (American) border in a week” according to this publication of May 2, 2023 shared more than 4 000 times.
But as explained in this article from the Porting News factual verification mediathis photo again has nothing to do with the current situation.
She is available on the website of the Porting News news agencyon which we learn that it was taken on June 6, 2022, in Tapachula, in southern Mexico.
“Migrants walk in a caravan across the country and reach the US border, as regional leaders meet in Los Angeles to discuss migration and other issues,” reads alongside the image.
The Summit of the Americas, which brings together most of the countries of the continent, took place from June 6 to 10, 2022. If the results of this diplomatic meeting were turned out to be mixed, it nevertheless led to the “Los Angeles Declaration”which was to harmonize the fight against illegal immigration in the twenty signatory countries.
Migrants at the border between Guatemala and Honduras in 2021
A caravan of migrants : this is also what shows another photo, shared on May 5, 2023.
“700 000 to a million illegals gathered ready to cross the southern border of the United States. This is an organized invasion and the White House is doing nothing about it,” the publication said.
Also in this case, the original context of the image can be found using a reverse image search.
It appears especially in this January 17, 2021 article from the Sydney Morning Heraldan Australian media.
“Migrants enter Guatemala after crossing a police checkpoint at the border checkpoint, January 16, 2021 in El Florido, Guatemala,” the caption reads.
As President Joe Biden’s new administration took office, thousands of Hondurans had sought to enter the United States, in the hope of a more lenient migration policy. Honduras, then still in the grip of violence, had been further weakened by two hurricanes, which had hit the country in November 2022.
A video taken at the Mexican border in March 2023
A video, shared on May 8, 2023 and shared over 4 000 times, also shows an influx of migrants at a border post. “It’s Juarez right now” is written alongside the sequence, thus mentioning this Mexican city located on the border with the United States.
The sequence was taken in Juarez. The panels appearing on the video make it possible to geotag the videonear the Paso del Norte-Santa Fe International Bridge, one of the five bridges that connect Juárez to American soil.
But the video is not from the last few days. We can trace its origin thanks to the logo of the social network TikTok, and the identifier “@xvicodm2”.
We can then realize that this has was posted by this account on March 14, 2023nearly two months ago.
This video could in fact echo an event that occurred on the same bridge on March 12, 2023 and relayed in several press articles, like this one, published on March 13, 2023 by the American news agency Porting News. “A large group of migrants” had tried to cross the border that day, “encouraged by false rumors that they could enter the United States”.
We also observe that the migrants are heading towards Mexico, and not the United States. This video could therefore correspond to the refoulement of these migrants to Mexico.
A video taken at the border between Morocco and Spain
The American border similar to a scene from the series “The Walking dead” ? This is the caption that accompanies another video shared more than 8 000 times since May 4, 2023, referring to this American dramatic horror series which notably features zombies.
This video is once again not recent, since we find it in this article from the Catalan media La Vanguardia from March 2022and it was mostly taken on another continent : in Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Morocco and one of the most accessible borders to enter the European Union.
Among the clues leading to this conclusion : the uniforms of the forces of order, on which one can read “Guardia civil”, which corresponds to the national body of gendarmerie in Spain.
The editorial staff of Porting News Observers was also able to geolocate these images, as explained in this video:
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