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U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the migrants in the video had already crossed the U.S.-Mexico border and were on U.S. soil when they were passing through the gate in the video.
The federal agency said the people are subject to U.S. immigration laws. They were being taken to a processing center in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Social media users are claiming recent footage from the United States southern border shows a U.S. military service member opening a gate to let people enter the country illegally. But the posts misconstrue what happened.
A May 17 TikTok video shared a tweet with footage from the border. The tweet claimed, "JUST IN: Uniformed US soldiers caught on video opening border gate and allowing ILLEGAL MIGRANTS to enter private property where they are swiftly picked up and (bused) away.. WHO GAVE THIS ORDER?"
The person in the TikTok said what happened in the video "is called treason."
TikTok identified the video as part of its efforts to counter inauthentic, misleading or false content. (Read more about PolitiFact’s partnership with TikTok.)
Other posts on social media also questioned the legality of the activity in the video. A May 16 tweet said the activity was "highly coordinated" and "highly disturbing."
In the roughly one-minute video, people are seen walking along a river bank and passing through a gate that’s part of a tall chain-link fence. A person in military fatigues oversees the activity. Toward the end of the clip, the camera pans to show the migrants who have passed through the gate lining up in front of a white bus. The video clip ends before any migrants board the bus.
The military service member seen in the video is a member of the Missouri National Guard who was supporting U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel near Eagle Pass, Texas, on May 15, a spokesperson for the Missouri National Guard told PolitiFact.
A CBP spokesperson told PolitiFact the migrants in the video were already on U.S. soil, having earlier crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico, and that Border Patrol was obligated to take them into custody.
CBP declined to comment on this incident’s specifics. But the agency confirmed it occurred on private land and that the migrants in the video were being transported to the Eagle Pass processing center.
People who cross unlawfully are subject to U.S. immigration laws and policies, CBP said.
Under a new rule, immigrants seeking asylum must use a phone app to schedule an appointment with immigration officials at a port of entry.
If they show up without an appointment or cross into the U.S. between ports of entry, immigrants must prove that they applied for, and were denied, protections in the countries they traveled through to reach the U.S. People who don’t have a legal basis to remain in the country can be deported.
The TikTok claims that U.S. military service members are facilitating illegal immigration. However, that claim ignores that the people in the video had already crossed into the U.S. on their own, and were being taken into immigration custody.
We rate this claim False.
Phone and email interview, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson, May 25, 2023
Email interview, Missouri National Guard spokesperson, May 24, 2023
Email interview, Texas National Guard spokesperson, May 24, 2023
PolitiFact, "Title 42 expiration: What's next for migrants applying for asylum at US’ southern border?," May 8, 2023
PolitiFact, "Deportation didn’t end with Title 42’s expiration; immigration law still stands," May 16, 2023
PolitiFact, "Ask PolitiFact: How does Joe Biden’s proposed asylum rule differ from Donald Trump’s ‘transit ban’?," March 2, 2023
The Associated Press, "Video prompts false claims that soldier allowed migrants to cross border illegally," May 18, 2023
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