Child migrants who've crossed into the United States are being held by the thousands at border facilities, as the Biden administration tracks down family members or sponsors already in the United States to care for them.
A photo from a facility in Long Beach, California went viral earlier this week, featuring Vice President Kamala Harris' 2019 children's book, Superheroes Are Everywhere, propped up against a backpack as one of the hundreds of welcome packages to children admitted to the facilities.
The New York Post, in its cover story, reported that Harris' book was part of all the welcome packages, and other right wing media outlets—along with prominent Republicans—repeated the claim as fact.
They accused the Biden administration of using taxpayer money to distribute Harris' book at the border and that Harris was benefitting from the funds.
After learning officials are handing out Kamala Harris’ book to migrants in facilities at the border, it’s worth as… https://t.co/8gG2DNM1dq— Ronna McDaniel (@Ronna McDaniel) 1619444171.0
Wow. Kamala is having the federal government purchase her own books. https://t.co/LA67ltBPwt— Kyle Kashuv (@Kyle Kashuv) 1619302898.0
How much taxpayer money is being spent to hand out copies of Kamala’s book at migrant facilities she refuses to vis… https://t.co/gWEuULBeJi— GOP (@GOP) 1619295004.0
After 4 years of the press reporting on every potential/theoretical conflict of the President & his family, barely… https://t.co/WMjIoWHbhv— Sean Spicer (@Sean Spicer) 1619524216.0
Why is the Biden regime using taxpayer dollars to provide illegal immigrants entering the U.S. with a copy of Kamala’s children's book?— Lauren Boebert (@Lauren Boebert) 1619438910.0
The claim was broadcast on Fox News and asked about in a daily White House press briefing, but there's just one problem.
It's completely false.
A Long Beach spokesman elaborated on the bogus allegation to the Washington Post:
"The City of Long Beach, in partnership with the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, has a citywide book and toy drive that is ongoing to support the migrant children who are temporarily staying in Long Beach at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shelter. The book you reference is one of hundreds of books that have already been donated. The book was not purchased by HHS or the City."
The Long Beach Convention Center, where the children are being held, called on community members to donate children's books and other supplies for welcome packets. One community member donated a single copy of Superheroes Are Everywhere, which—according to CNN fact checker Daniel Dale—will be part of an informal library of donated books. It was not paid for by the city or by the federal government.
The Post's claim instantly fell apart—only after illustrating how rapidly right wing disinformation can spread before a claim is debunked.
It's a huge country full of people doing dumb things every day, so you'd think they'd be able to find somewhere an… https://t.co/DZ9BJXr0CT— David Frum (@David Frum) 1619525547.0
This story was all over right-wing media last week. Turns out exactly ONE copy of Harris's book was donated by a me… https://t.co/YCkXOwpqcn— Arieh Kovler (@Arieh Kovler) 1619531210.0
It was a single copy of Harris’s children book, donated by a community member, per city officials. The Murdochs mo… https://t.co/M9DQdRIFhK— Jan Wolfe (@Jan Wolfe) 1619527706.0
From “Joe Biden is making it illegal to eat hamburgers” to “Kamala Harris’ book is being mass distributed to indoct… https://t.co/yLFZa8ytzb— Lucy Caldwell (@Lucy Caldwell) 1619528510.0
The NY Post story claiming Harris' book is being handed out to migrant children is ... completely false. But it's a… https://t.co/m9iADhWJoS— Eliza Relman (@Eliza Relman) 1619531547.0
People are weary of the lies.
They lie about everything https://t.co/gwZh7EA9jF— Pat Bagley (@Pat Bagley) 1619537646.0
These people never stop. https://t.co/tr7oIWUyng— Terry Uncle T Brown™️ (@Terry Uncle T Brown™️) 1619538109.0
Right wing misinformation and lying is getting worse. Obviously the former guy helped them understand the depth of… https://t.co/9RwawBazSC— Dan Gleason (@Dan Gleason) 1619538919.0
The New York Post has scrubbed the story from its website, but has yet to issue a retraction.