Video shows migrants at Spain-Morocco border, not entering US

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Social media users are claiming a video shows migrants scaling a fence at the United States border with Mexico in May 2023 as the US government prepares to lift pandemic-era immigration restrictions. This is false; the footage shows people entering the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco in March 2022.

"We are being invaded," says a May 3, 2023 tweet sharing the video, which racked up more than 2.8 million views. "It is a constant flow, and with what is about to expire ... the real flood is coming."

Screenshot from Twitter taken May 4, 2023

The clip, which shows individuals climbing the first of two fences along a road, appears to have originated on TikTok before jumping to Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.

Similar posts spread the same video in Spanish, French, Russian and other languages as the United States prepares to lift Title 42, a pandemic-era program that former president Donald Trump introduced to deny entry to and swiftly expel people attempting to cross illegally into the United States. The Pentagon has ordered troops to the southern border in anticipation of a potential surge of migrants that could overwhelm authorities after the protocol ends May 11.

"This CRISIS is about to get a lot worse," said Chuck Callesto, a conservative commentator who has previously spread misinformation, in a May 3 tweet.

Screenshot from Twitter taken May 4, 2023

One now-deleted post sharing the video was amplified by Twitter owner Elon Musk, who asked in a reply whether it was real.

But the video does not show the US-Mexico border -- the year-old clip was taken more than 5,000 miles away from the US state of Texas.

"The images in the two videos correspond to Melilla," a spokesperson for the Guardia Civil, a Spanish law enforcement agency, told AFP in an email. "March of 2022."

The same footage has circulated online since at least March 2, 2022, when it appeared in a French-language article and YouTube video (archived here and here) from the Moroccan website Le1. The footage also circulated on Twitter and YouTube (archived here).

The article and posts say the clip shows the border between Morocco and Melilla, one of two autonomous Spanish cities on the Moroccan coast.

Using details from the Le1 story, AFP geolocated part of the video to a stretch of the border along the road ML-300. Google Maps Street View images (archived here and here) show a building, road and landscape that match those in the video shared online.

Screenshot from TikTok taken May 4, 2023, with elements outlined by AFP
Screenshot from Google Maps Street View taken May 4, 2023, with elements outlined by AFP



Screenshot from TikTok taken May 4, 2023, with elements outlined by AFP
Screenshot from Google Maps Street View taken May 4, 2023, with elements outlined by AFP



The insignia and uniforms of the police in the video -- as well as the cars -- also resemble those of the Guardia Civil. Similar attire and vehicles appear in AFP photos taken at the Melilla border on March 4, 2022.

Screenshot taken from TikTok on May 4, 2023, with elements outlined by AFP
Members of Spain's Guardia Civil stand on their side of the border fence separating Spain's Melilla enclave from Morocco on March 4, 2022 ( AFP / FADEL SENNA)



AFP reported the migrants attempting to cross numbered approximately 2,500 on March 2, 2022. Photos of people who entered Melilla were previously misrepresented online as pictures of Africans fleeing the war in Ukraine.

AFP has previously debunked misinformation about the US-Mexico border here, here and here.