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Fox News clip doctored to misrepresent Texas governor's border comments

Amid a standoff with the federal government over illegal immigration, social media users are sharing a Fox News clip in which Texas Governor Greg Abbott appears to praise Vladimir Putin. But the clip is altered; the original shows the Republican politician criticizing the Biden administration without mentioning the Russian president.

"If only president had been dealing with real internal problems and not trying to play with Putin, from whom he needs to learn how to work for national interests, then everything would have been different. He needs to follow immigration laws," Abbott purportedly says in a video shared February 1, 2024 on X, formerly known as Twitter.

<span>Screenshot of an X post taken February 2, 2024</span>
Screenshot of an X post taken February 2, 2024

Similar posts have circulated across the social media platform, as well as on Facebook and TikTok.

They come amid a standoff between the Biden administration and Abbott over immigration -- a hot topic in the 2024 US election.

The state of Texas has continued to fortify the banks of the Rio Grande despite a Supreme Court ruling that sided with the federal government in allowing Border Patrol agents to remove barbed wire barriers along the US-Mexico border.

However, Abbott's quote suggesting the US president could learn from Putin is fake -- the video shared online is doctored.

A keyword search uncovered the original January 4 Fox News video in which Abbott speaks about border policies. The clip is also available on the broadcast network's YouTube channel (archived here).

"There is only one reason why this is happening," Abbott says in the segment. "That's because Joe Biden has eliminated all of the four policies that Donald Trump put in place that led to the lowest illegal border crossings in 40 years: the 'Remain in Mexico' policy, the Title 42 policy, the end of 'catch and release' and building a border wall."

That dialogue matches the video shared online. But the two clips deviate when the segment cuts from the governor to background footage of the southern US border.

In the original video, Abbott does not mention Putin. Instead, he says: "If the Biden administration was enforcing the immigration laws passed by Congress, the mayors of New York, the leaders of New Jersey and Chicago, etc ... they would not be having these problems."

Several other clues indicate the video is inauthentic, including the change in Abbott's voice and Russian subtitles at the bottom of the clip.

There is no other evidence Abbott has made such comments about Putin. AFP contacted the governor's office for comment, but a response was not forthcoming.

AFP has fact-checked other false and misleading claims about the situation at the US-Mexico border here, here and here.