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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman November 8, 2018

A bus for the caravan needs additional context

A story shared on Facebook claims that the Mexican government is helping the migrant caravan by paying for professional charter buses to help leapfrog the group closer to the United States border.

The story was posted by the Red State, a conservative political blog, on Oct. 30 and cites a Fox News journalist, who reported from Mexico. The broadcast showed footage of buses lined up as hundreds of Central American migrants waited to board.

The caravan is one of three trekking through Mexico and includes thousands of people.

The Red State story said that the growing migrant caravan headed toward the U.S. border was followed by "disturbing reports of the migrants getting state-funded help from Mexico."

This report was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

We found the story was partially accurate, but lacked some essential details.

The broadcast

In the Oct. 30 broadcast, Fox News reporter Griff Jenkins said it was the first time he had seen "an organized bus operation from the state of Oaxaca actually getting volunteer buses to put people on them and take them to their next location." He said the buses were intended for women and children, but many fathers and husbands didn’t want to be separated from their families.

Jenkins also said that while the Mexican police had tried to dissuade the caravan from crossing the Guatemala-Mexican border in mid October, it seems "at least Mexican towns are really assisting them to make their way now."

An AZ Central story from the same day reported that migrants began arriving in Oaxaca that morning from Santiago Niltepec, a town about 30 miles to the south. For the first time, the outlet reported, buses were "used to transport women and children."

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Several images captured by the Associated Press also show families and children on buses, with reporting that the rides were donated to help some families get to the next destination. The images were taken the morning of Oct. 30 in the Niltepec, Oaxaca state. It is not known who paid for the donated rides.

It isn’t clear if those were the same buses that Jenkins saw, but the time, date and region matches multiple reports that said families took donated buses to get to their next destination.

An offer, and then a reversal

A few days later, on Nov. 2, a Mexican governor offered to help assist the caravan with buses, The Associated Press reported.

Veracruz Gov. Miguel Angel Yunes announced in a video that authorities in the state would provide humanitarian assistance as well as buses to leapfrog them to the country’s capital.

But almost immediately after, Yunes withdrew the offer in a second video, saying that because Mexico City’s water system was undergoing maintenance, it would not be correct to send the migrants there. However, reports say that the scheduled maintenance had been known for some time.

Most of the migrants were reported to have continued on foot instead, and reached the Mexican capital over the weekend.

Our ruling

It is unclear whether the buses Fox News saw and reported on were the work of the Mexican federal government, but other reports from the same day and region said buses were donated for some migrant families to use to get to their next destination.

At one point, a Mexican governor did make an offer to transport migrants by bus to Mexico City, the group’s next stop at the time. However, he withdrew that plan almost immediately thereafter.

The story has some basis, but it doesn’t provide readers with all the details or mention that multiple buses were donated.

We rate this claim Half True.

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A bus for the caravan needs additional context

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