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President Joe Biden signed the Declaration of North America on Jan. 10 following talks with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It is not a legally binding document and has no bearing on U.S. sovereignty.
The declaration contains a list of broad commitments among the three countries on topics such as sustainability and migration.
Does the United States no longer exist? Are you reading this from a defunct country?
No, but that’s what one viral video spreading across the internet claims.
"Did you know that the United States of America as you know it no longer exists?" a person asks in a widely shared on Facebook video. The claim, which has amassed 3,600 shares on Facebook, debuted on TikTok before migrating to other platforms.
"And I don’t mean this theoretically. On Jan. 10, 2023, while no one was paying attention, Joe Biden signed away our sovereignty as a nation."
"These c**** actually think we're going to let them do this?" the video’s caption reads. "They just united the population of THREE SEPARATE COUNTRIES to stand together against them."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.
This claim has no merit. The referred-to document, the Declaration of North America, isn’t legally binding and doesn’t change the U.S. status as a sovereign country, constitutional law experts said.
Biden signed the declaration after meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a two-day summit in Mexico City on Jan. 9 and 10. It contains a list of mutual commitments between the three countries.
"The video is ridiculous. The declaration has no legal status whatsoever. It's a restatement of ‘commitments’ by the three nations to pursue a variety of goals," said Mark Tushnet, an emeritus law professor at Harvard Law School who specialized in constitutional law.
"None of the three governments is legally required to do anything whatsoever to advance those commitments," he said. "At most, they are statements about current plans or ideas about things that might be done in the future."
Implementing some, many or all of the commitments would leave the U.S. unchanged as a sovereign nation, Tushnet added.
The declaration reasserts commitments among the three countries to collaborate on ensuring "safe, orderly and humane" migration, cutting emissions, developing public policies to protect against health crises, and to combat racism and violence against against women and LGBTQ people.
"The commitments made during this summit are rooted in a shared vision for a more equitable, just, inclusive, resilient, secure, and prosperous North America and a shared responsibility to achieve more equitable outcomes responsive to the needs and aspirations of our citizens," the declaration concludes. "As we work to implement these commitments in the upcoming year, we seek to model a democratic and sustainable path based on trust to promote inclusive prosperity and security."
Treaties can affect U.S. sovereignty, because the agreements have the force of federal legislation. But this isn’t a treaty. Treaties are binding international agreements between nations that must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. The document did not go through that process.
A viral video shared on Facebook claims that the United States "no longer exists" because Biden "signed away our sovereignty as a nation."
No. The Declaration of North America is not a legally binding document and has no bearing on U.S. sovereignty.
It contains a list of commitments among the U.S., Mexico and Canada on goals for migration, sustainability and other topics. It does not restructure the continent or alter U.S. sovereignty.
Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, Jan. 25, 2023
New York Times, Biden in Mexico ‘We’re True Partners,’ Biden Says, After Meeting With Leaders of U.S. Neighbors, Jan. 10, 2023
WhiteHouse.gov, Declaration of North America (DNA), Jan. 10, 2023
WhiteHouse.gov, FACT SHEET: Key Deliverables for the 2023 North American Leaders’ Summit, Jan. 10, 2023
Senate.gov, Constitution of the United States, accessed Jan. 28, 2023
Email interview, Mark Tushnet, a professor of law emeritus at Harvard Law School, Jan. 27, 2023
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