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Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman August 5, 2021

Feds did not drop off immigrants illegally in the country at Mexican restaurant in Florida

If Your Time is short

  • Law enforcement officials in Green Cove Springs denied the claim in the Facebook post.

  • There was an event, as advertised by the Mexican consulate, at a restaurant to provide consular assistance and COVID-19 vaccines. 

A Facebook post wrongly claims that the federal government dropped off immigrants illegally in the country at a Mexican restaurant in a small town in northeastern Florida.

"On Saturday morning, July 31, 2021 at 6:30 a.m. two federal government busses (sic) stopped in front of a Mexican restaurant in the very small town of Green Cove Springs Florida, where I live," wrote a Facebook user July 31. "Once stopped, the drivers had everyone get off the buses, handed each of them a $100 bill and left. The passengers were illegal immigrants, straight from the southern border."

The post 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.)

Local law enforcement officials said that the Facebook post was wrong. 

"There is NO evidence that govt officials dropped off a group of illegal/undocumented immigrants in the City of Green Cove Springs," Green Cove Police Department Commander E.J. Guzman told PolitiFact in an email. 

The Orlando-area Mexican Consulate held an event at La Casita restaurant related to vaccinations and other services, but there’s no evidence it involved people here illegally, Guzman said.

The police department said on Facebook that the consulate event happened "successfully and without incident."

A flyer on social media by the Consulate of Mexico in Orlando announced the weekend event in Green Cove Springs where participants could get consular services and COVID-19 vaccines.

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Antonia Marquez, a manager at La Casita, told us that more than 100 people attended the event. Marquez said most of the participants live nearby and walked to the restaurant. 

"We try to do a good thing and they turn it around," she said, referring to people who spread false information about the event.

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection told PolitiFact that it did not send buses of immigrants to northern Florida. Another federal immigration agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also said it had no involvement in the event.

The author of the Facebook post wrote an update: "now I’m being vilified, called a liar and troll by local law enforcement when all I did was report what their own deputy said."

Our ruling

A Facebook post claimed two federal government buses "stopped in front of a Mexican restaurant in the very small town of Green Cove Springs Florida…The passengers were illegal immigrants, straight from the southern border."

Officials from the Green Cove Springs police department said that the Facebook statement is wrong. There was an event at a Mexican restaurant in Green Cove Springs, but it was for people to get COVID-19 shots or other assistance from the Mexican consulate. The event did not involve federal officials, and a manager for the restaurant said most people who attended live nearby and walked to the event.

We rate this statement False.

 

Our Sources

Facebook post, July 31, 2021

Consulate of Mexico in Orlando, Tweet, July 29, 2021

Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook, Facebook post, Aug. 1, 2021

Green Cove Springs Police Department, Facebook post, Aug. 1, 2021

Florida Department of Health, COVID-19 Vaccines in Florida, Accessed Aug. 4, 2021

First Coast News, VERIFY: No, buses full of undocumented immigrants were not dropped off in Green Cove Springs, Aug. 1, 2021

News4Jax, Trust Index: No group of people who immigrated illegally were brought to Green Cove Springs, Aug. 2, 2021

Email interview, Commander E.J. Guzman, Green Cove Springs Police Department, Aug. 4, 2021

Telephone interview, Antonia Marquez, a manager at La Casita restaurant, Aug. 4, 2021

Email interview, Tammy Spicer, spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Aug. 4, 2021

Email interview, Rob Brisley, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson, Aug. 5, 2021 

 

 

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Feds did not drop off immigrants illegally in the country at Mexican restaurant in Florida

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