The Journal Gazette
Saturday, July 27, 2019 7:25 am

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week


A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the real facts:

CLAIM: Detained migrants are free to leave detention centers at any time to go back to Mexico.

THE FACTS: A text post being shared extensively on Facebook incorrectly states that "illegals are free to leave detention centers anytime to go back to Mexico." That is not the case. "Bottom line, individuals who are being held in ICE or CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) custody pursuant to their immigration proceedings are generally not able to leave custody and certainly not at any time of their choosing," Katie Shepherd, national advocacy counsel with the American Immigration Council, told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. Migrants who decide they want to leave detention facilities for their home country can seek voluntary departure. The migrant must have been in the U.S. for at least a year; and migrants charged with serious crimes may not be eligible to leave, according to immigration experts. A migrant can request voluntary departure at his or her initial hearing with the immigration judge. Getting a hearing takes on average 30 to 60 days, Shepherd said. If the request is approved, regulations state migrants have 120 days to leave the U.S, she said. If the person does not return within the time period granted, the voluntary departure can become an order of removal, hindering the migrant's chances of later returning to the U.S. For asylum-seekers, applying for voluntary departure comes with steep consequences since he or she would have to discard an asylum application.

CLAIM: Trump's "Make America Great Again" caps are made in China, not the U.S.

THE FACTS: A post circulating on Facebook with a picture of a red MAGA hat that bears a "Made in China" label falsely claims President Donald Trump's official caps are not made in the U.S. Such claims have circulated for years on social media and have re-surfaced in recent months as the president engages in a tariff war with China. Brian Kennedy, president of Cali Fame of Los Angeles, a California-based company that makes the official hats, confirmed to the AP on Tuesday that the hats are produced entirely in Carson, California. Some third-party retailers carry knock-off MAGA caps that are made in China and are labeled as such. Trump's official campaign store website states that "All of our products are 100% proudly made in the USA." However, another official Trump website, "Trump Store," sells apparel and other merchandise with labels such as "decorated in the U.S." The store also carries wine glasses by Riedel, a manufacturer based in Austria. The Federal Trade Commission requires that items labeled "Made in USA" be "all or virtually all" produced in the U.S.

This is part of the Associated Press' ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

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