Fact Check: NGO Flyer Encouraging Migrants To Vote For Biden Is NOT Authentic; It's Fake

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: NGO Flyer Encouraging Migrants To Vote For Biden Is NOT Authentic; It's Fake Fact Check: NGO Flyer Encouraging Migrants To Vote For Biden Is NOT Authentic; It's Fake Not Theirs

Did a Mexican nonprofit issue a flyer that features its logo and encourages migrants along the southern border of the U.S. to vote for President Joe Biden? No, that's not true: Gaby Zavala, the founder of the nonprofit, Resource Center Matamoros, told The Associated Press the organization does not know the origin of the flyers. She added that her group does not promote the registration or voting of immigrants in the United States. A Spanish-language professor told Lead Stories that Google Translate likely created the flyers' "awkward" Spanish.

The claim about the flyers appeared in an article (archived here) published by Not the Bee, a "humor-based" site, on April 16, 2024.

The story about the flyer was titled "Report: NGO tells illegals 'to vote for President Biden when you are in the United States' ... guess who was on the board of the NGO's direct partner? 🚨" The article began:

Remember how the 'Great Replacement' was a conspiracy theory?

Yeah, well there's nothing conspiratorial here. Just the cold hard facts that an NGO in Mexico, Resource Center Matamoras (RCM), helps fund illegal border crossings into the US to overthrow US elections.

Not a conspiracy theory. Not an overstatement. Literally in their own memos.

This is what the story looked like on the Not the Bee website at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-04-18 at 8.27.12 AM.png

(Source: Not the Bee screenshot taken on Thu Apr 18 16:04:00 2024 UTC)

On its About page, the Not the Bee website describes itself this way:

Not the Bee is a humor-based news, opinion, and entertainment site from the creators of The Babylon Bee ... Like the name suggests, it'll feature some absurd and hilarious (but real) news that seems like it should definitely be satire.

The Babylon Bee bills itself as a Christian news satire site.

Resource Center Matamoros

Despite what the article says, Resource Center Matamoras (RCM) does not take responsibility for or appear to have produced the flyers supposedly found at a migrant camp along Mexico's border with Texas, nor does it endorse the handbill's message. This is what The Associated Press reported on April 17, 2024:

Resource Center Matamoros founder Gaby Zavala told The Associated Press the organization doesn't know who made the flyers and said her group 'does not encourage immigrants to register to vote or cast ballots in the U.S.'

Multiple efforts by Lead Stories to reach RCM and its staff for comment were unsuccessful. We'll update this fact check when RCM responds.

Spanish to English

The flyer (archived here) and a video showing the handbills at a migrant camp appeared in a string of posts published on X on April 15, 2024, by the Oversight Project, a government-transparency program at The Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank that opposes "unchecked illegal migration" into the U.S. and the Biden administration's immigration policies.

Below, the flyer in Spanish (left) and its English translation (right) are shown side by side:


(Source: X and Apple Translate screenshots taken on Thu Apr 18 2024 UTC)

The flyer also includes an RCM logo and a Biden campaign logo that says "Todos con Biden," which translates to "Everyone for Biden" or "All with Biden" in English.

English to Spanish

Under the Legal Assistance section of the RCM website's Who We Are page, Lead Stories found wording similar to the English translation of the flyer (above). After running it through Google Translate, we came up with the identical wording in Spanish as in the first two lines of the purported flyer from RCM. An English-to-Spanish translation through DeepL, another AI-enabled translation site, did not produce the same wording as the handbill.

The Google translation from English to Spanish appears below:


(Source: Google Translate screenshot taken on Thu Apr 18 21:27:56 2024 UTC)

The final two lines in the flyer, asking migrants to vote for Biden, did not appear on the RCM website and were added by whoever produced the handbill.

Completing the loop and connecting the dots

  1. The green arrow below takes you to the English translation of the flyer with the RCM logo.
  2. The yellow arrow shows the nearly identical wording from the RCM website, which is translated to Spanish via Google Translate.
  3. The red arrow refers to the Spanish translation of the lines from the RCM website back to the flyer, which is an identical match, suggesting the handbill was created using the RCM website as source material and then adding the "vote for Biden" lines before running them through Google Translate.

Translation Route.png

(Source: X, Apple Translate and Google Translate screenshots taken on Thu Apr 18 2024 UTC)

Language expert

Lead Stories asked a Spanish-language professor at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory University in Atlanta to analyze the grammar and the tone of the handbill. The professor, who requested anonymity out of concern over the topic's public controversy, came to a similar conclusion about the flyer's language as did Lead Stories:

It does indeed appear to be the case that the flyer language replicates language on the website in the first part, probably run through Google translate. The last two sentences are dissonant with the rest of the passage and the same Google translate mechanism could have been used on English sentences. As such, the grammar is correct, but the language is awkward.

Read more

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to Biden and migrants can be found 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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