Stand up for the facts!

Misinformation isn't going away just because it's a new year. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact.

More Info

I would like to contribute

A migrant family crosses the border into El Paso, Texas, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Feb. 26, 2021. (AP) A migrant family crosses the border into El Paso, Texas, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Feb. 26, 2021. (AP)

A migrant family crosses the border into El Paso, Texas, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Feb. 26, 2021. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher April 7, 2021

No, report does not say Biden administration is busing migrants to red states

If Your Time is short

  • The report says migrants crossing the border from Mexico are being bused “throughout the nation’s interior.”

  • The report says the busing is designed to allow migrants to “pursue more permanent legal status later.” But even if migrants obtain a permanent legal status, they still must earn citizenship, a yearslong process, in order to vote.

With preliminary data showing border crossings at their highest in 15 years, social media posts attacked President Joe Biden as being up to something politically sinister.

The claims were hung on a report by the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that argues for low levels of immigration.

"Report: Biden Admin Busing ‘Thousands’ of Illegals to Red States to Get Permanent Status," was the way one widely shared headline put it. 

In other words, the article under the headline alleged, the Biden administration is busing migrants to Republican-leaning states in an effort to add Democratic voters there.

The headline and others like it were highlighted to PolitiFact by Vinesight, a company that monitors online misinformation.

The original report, however, says the buses are taking migrants "throughout the nation’s interior" — not to red states in particular.

Moreover, migrants must become permanent residents for at least three or five years before they become eligible for citizenship, which is required in order to vote. 

The report, which provides more of a detailed narrative than a data-based study, was written by the center’s Todd Bensman, a former journalist and former counterterrorism unit manager at the Texas Department of Public Safety. Describing the scene in Del Rio, Texas, a city on the Mexico border 150 miles west of San Antonio, Bensman wrote:

Featured Fact-check

"As best as the Center for Immigration Studies can determine from interviews and scattered media reporting, the buses are leaving regularly from Del Rio, the Texas Rio Grande Valley communities, and Laredo, but the busing also appears to be going on in Arizona, as well as in California.

"Where are the buses going? They often drop their Haitian, Venezuelan and Cuban passengers in Florida and New Jersey. Those from Nicaragua and other Central American nations have been delivered to Tennessee, Massachusetts, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, and to large cities in Texas such as Dallas and Houston."

The article does not indicate how many migrants are being bused to any particular state.

Of the 10 states mentioned, most are not reliably red states, in terms of presidential elections.

Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas are swing states. All were decided by less than six percentage points in the 2020 race.

New Jersey and Massachusetts are blue, or Democratic-leaning states.

That leaves only Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky as states that are reliably red.

And though the report says these migrants could "pursue more permanent legal status later," there is no indication that this is a voting scheme. Only citizens can vote in U.S. elections and the path to becoming a citizen takes years.  

We rate the claim False.

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Tom Kertscher

No, report does not say Biden administration is busing migrants to red states

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up