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Image of Jill Biden handing out food to asylum-seekers in 2019 is missing context

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The claim: Image shows Jill Biden handing out food and gifts to asylum-seekers in Matamoros, Mexico; ‘Has anybody seen her in Texas helping Americans yet?’

A viral meme shared by users across Facebook asserts that first lady Jill Biden traveled to Mexico to hand out food and gifts to asylum-seekers but did not provide assistance to those in Texas struggling in the aftermath of deadly winter storms.

“Jill Biden handing out food and gifts to asylum-seekers in Matamoros, Mexico,” reads a Feb. 26 post with over 300 shares. “Has anybody seen her in Texas helping Americans yet?”

Similar versions of the claim have been shared by other users and Facebook pages such as Trump’s Storm Group.

Accompanying the text is an image of the first lady handing out food to a crowd. The posts do not specify the date the photo was captured; however, some users in the comments criticized Biden for not wearing a mask, suggesting the image was captured recently.

USA TODAY reached out to the users and Facebook page for comment.

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Image is from 2019

A reverse Google search of the photo used in the claim shows that it comes from Biden’s December 2019 trip to a refugee camp in Matamoros, Mexico, across the border from Brownsville, Texas.

No one in the photo is wearing a mask or social distancing because it was taken before the coronavirus pandemic, not recently, as the claims suggest.

While she was at the refugee camp, she handed out food and Christmas toys to asylum-seekers waiting at the U.S.-Mexico border during the holiday season under former President Donald Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy, Texas Monthly reported.

“Congressman Filemón Vela and I joined Team Brownsville and Sister Norma of Catholic Charities for a holiday Tamalada with the thousands of asylum seekers living in mud and tents by the U.S. border,” Biden tweeted in 2019.

The photo used in the meme was taken from a Dec. 23, 2019, video of Biden handing out the food with volunteers to asylum-seekers at an event.

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President Biden and first lady visit Texas

The posts also falsely suggest that the first lady has not been in Texas to assist those who were left without power and water after the winter storm in February.

The president and first lady visited Houston at the end of February to meet with local leaders to discuss the storm and a road to recovery, according to the Texas Tribune.

Jill Biden and Texas first lady Cecilia Abbott visited the Houston Food Bank, where they met with volunteers and packed meals for seniors through the food bank’s Senior Box program, USA TODAY reported on Feb. 26.

The Bidens were also given a tour of the food bank by Houston Food Bank CEO Brian Greene.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden with Houston Food Bank CEO Brian Greene, visit the Houston Food Bank in Houston, Texas, on February 26, 2021.

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Our rating: Missing context

The claim that Jill Biden was handing out food and gifts to asylum-seekers in Matamoros, Mexico, is MISSING CONTEXT based on our research. The posts fail to mention that the image is from a 2019 trip before the pandemic and that the first lady recently visited Houston with President Joe Biden to provide assistance to Texans after winter storms.

Our fact-check sources:

  • Jill Biden, Dec. 24, 2019, tweet

  • Texas Monthly, Dec. 23, 2019, “‘It’s Not Who We Are’: Jill Biden Visits the Refugee Camp in Matamoros”

  • The Hill, Dec. 23, 2019, tweet

  • Texas Tribune, Feb. 26, “In first visit, President Joe Biden commits to being ‘true partners’ with Texas through storm recovery, vaccination effort”

  • USA TODAY, Feb. 26, “‘We’re in for the long haul’: Biden visits Texas following storm, promises increased COVID relief”

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Jill Biden visited asylum-seekers in 2019, not recently

About the author

Erin Clark

Erin is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional football matches. She is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. She currently caters her skills for the sports and health section of Report Door.

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