A meme purports to juxtapose US airport security measures with a crowd of migrants effortlessly crossing the border. But the photo of the latter is misrepresented; it was taken in Kent, England.
The side-by-side comparison rocketed across Facebook, Instagram and X, formerly Twitter, in February 2024 as US Republicans angle to make immigration enforcement a defining issue of the 2024 presidential election.
President Joe Biden has committed to signing a bipartisan bill that would tie $20 billion in new funding and the toughest border security measures in a generation to $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. But former president Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024, has been pressuring lawmakers to kill the effort to deny Biden a win.
The gridlock comes amid rising tensions at the border, where the state of Texas has continued fortifying the banks of the Rio Grande despite a Supreme Court ruling that sided with the federal government in allowing Border Patrol agents to remove concertina wire barriers.
But the image shared online is unrelated to the US-Mexico border.
"A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dungeness, Kent, onboard the RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat, following a small boat incident in the Channel," says the caption of the picture, which accompanied several articles from The Independent newspaper (archived here and here).
The English Channel is the part of the Atlantic Ocean that separates the United Kingdom from France, across which migration is common.
AFP has debunked other misinformation about immigration and the border here.