Fact Check: US Government Not Providing $5,000 To Each Illegal Migrant; All Americans NOT Eligible For A $5,000 Federal Subsidy

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: US Government Not Providing $5,000 To Each Illegal Migrant; All Americans NOT Eligible For A $5,000 Federal Subsidy Bait & Switch

Is the U.S. government providing $5,000 to each illegal migrant and to all Americans? No, neither element of the claim is true: An immigration policy think tank contacted by Lead Stories said these claims are a "false rumor" that has been circulating since December 2023. Immigrants who enter the country illegally generally are not eligible for most federal benefits or assistance programs, as such programs typically require proof of legal residency or citizenship.

The claim appeared in a post and video (archived here) published by GentleCare Loans on February 19, 2024, under the title "Deadline is approaching." The post's caption says:

Did you see the news last night? 🚨 Apply now before it's too late! I just got approved and I'm super excited! 😍

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Mar 19 14:45:55 2024 UTC)

The video

During the 75-second clip, the narrator laid out their claim, which said:

Y'all heard the news, right? The southern border in Texas is still letting migrants in. And guess what? The Gov's handing out $5,000 to each of them. And guys, every single one of us can snag this cash, too. Thanks to this new subsidy that's only going to last until the end of the week -- and when it's gone, it's gone for good.

Here's exactly what you need to do. Hit up their official U.S. website. Don't worry, I dropped the link below. Just to answer two easy yes or no questions, then speak with a rep for like three minutes and bam, your $5,400 spending card is heading straight to your mailbox in less than a day.

Now here's the best part. This card reloads every single month and you ain't got to cough up a single dime for whatever you spend. That's like 12 extra cash boosts a year. They ain't even interested in your personal info. Just need to give them a name and an address to send the card to. It's like having a debit card with a bottomless pit of cash. Use it for groceries, bills. You can even fill up your gas.

So don't let this golden opportunity pass you by. Let's ensure our American tax dollars land right back in American pockets. The deadline's the end of the week. So hit that link below and claim your funds now.

Response to claim: Migration Policy Institute

In a March 19, 2024, email to Lead Stories, Michelle Mittelstadt, director of communications at the Migration Policy Institute, provided the think tank's response to the claim made in the social media post. She said, "This is a false rumor that has been circulating in various forms since last year." She continued:

The U.S. government is not giving $5,000 to migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border without prior authorization to enter, to other unauthorized immigrants, or to U.S. citizens. ...

We know of no federal government immigration program (or non-immigration program for that matter) providing $5,000 payments to anyone.

Mittelstadt continued:

Some migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border are receiving plane or bus tickets to their chosen destination, paid for by a non-profit organization. In some cases, state or local governments, most notably the state of Texas, have provided a free bus to a set list of destinations, funded by state or local taxpayers. And, in turn, those non-profits and local governments have been able to request federal reimbursement for some of the money they spend on transportation, shelter, or food. Though the federal spending to defray these costs has been well short of covering all of the costs.

But we are not aware of any federal program making direct payments, whether in cash, Visa card, or other method, to unauthorized migrants.

Poster of the video

The moniker for GentleCare Loans, which posted the video on Facebook, is a misnomer because it does not appear to provide that financial product. Under the "Privacy and legal info" tab of its "About" page, GentleCare Loans says (spacing, grammatical and punctuation errors are original to the post):

The Services include the third partiesincorporation of third-party insurance products, brokers, and carriers in the form of an advertisement, insurance quote, online purchase, email, phone call, text message, or any other marketing medium. This serves as notice that you may have third-parties contact you on our behalf.

The Services also include formal quoting, brokering, and transacting of first-and-third-party insurance products. We are a licensed insurance agency.Any quotes, or quote-ranges provided on the Site or over the phone are non-binding. The final insurance policy premium for any policy is determined following application by the underwriting insurance company. Insurance products and their availability may vary by state and your individual circumstances, and additional minimum coverage limits may be required in your state. The third-party insurance products offered for sale through the Site are only available in the jurisdictions in which we are properly licensed.At times, Services may require you to agree to additional terms and conditions, or enter into separate agreements with us or applicable third-parties. Any third-party insurance products purchased by you through the Site are subject to the contract terms of the applicable insurance carrier. In the event of a conflict between these Terms of Use and the terms of any insurance policy terms, the terms of the insurance policy will control.

The link

As might be expected, the link mentioned in the video and located at the bottom of the post has nothing to do with a purported government program giving $5,000 to migrants and American citizens alike.

Instead, it appears to be a way for the site operator to harvest personal information. The link takes you to a website (archived here) for a health insurance plan. It asks questions about your age, income and number of people in your household before telling you, "It looks like you may qualify, congrats!" and asking for contact information. This is what the final question page looks like:


(Source: Healthcare Pronto screenshot taken on Tue Mar 19 20:48:56 2024 UTC)

Read more

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims about immigrants can be found here. Lead Stories debunks of claims from money offers to ad hooks are here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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