Donald Trump
Voter fraud by immigrants has become a major concern for the GOP, but are these claims realistic? Exhaustive data says no. Photo by Alon Skuy/AFP via Getty Images

Resource Center Matamoros, a humanitarian organization in northeastern Mexico, is denying claims made by the GOP that they urged migrants to vote for President Biden at its shelter in what ended up becoming a viral video.

Such allegations gained momentum in social media after online posts displayed Spanish-language flyers instructing migrants to vote for Biden once they arrived in the U.S. The posted flyers also stressed that, in order to stay open, they needed four more years under the Biden administration.

According to the organization's mission statement, they provide a "safe space" for migrants and refugees at the southern Texas-Mexico border so they can access legal and social support services as an avenue to start their asylum process.

The flyers seen in the social media posts contained the organization's logo, though it is unclear who created or posted them. They also contained grammatical and spelling errors. According to Border Report, they appeared to include verbatim paragraphs from the organization's English-language website that were translated into Spanish using online translation software.

Videos also showed them on the interior walls of portable toilets at the center's shelter.

The organization's founder, Gaby Zavala told The Associated Press the organization doesn't know who made the flyers and said her group "does not encourage immigrants to register to vote or cast ballots in the U.S."

The videos gained special attention this week during a congressional hearing, when House Republicans raised them in their questioning of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

In social media, the flyers and the videos gathered more attention after they were shared by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

"The flyer obviously seeks to prey on unsophisticated illegals and encourages them to illegally vote," the conservative foundation wrote on one of its social media posts.

The foundation also published a short audio clip of Zavala having a conversation with an unidentified male. After the male says he is trying to help as many people as possible before Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, gets re-elected, Zavala can be heard saying "believe me, we're in the same boat," according to Border Report. The nine-second exchange did not include any further mention of voting or elections.

Trump has made illegal voting by undocumented immigrants a salient talking point during his campaign, as well as previous ones.

In 2016, for instance, he blamed the loss of the popular vote on voting by immigrants, and then appointed a commission to investigate the issue. It disbanded without identifying a single case of a noncitizen casting a vote.

Moreover, claims of illegal voting continue to be baseless. Federal law requires all voter registration forms to advise those signing up that they have to swear under penalty of perjury that they are a U.S. citizen. This generally works, as immigrants who aren't citizens do not want to violate the law as it could jeopardize their legal status in the country, according to AP.

Instances of illegal voting are also extremely rare. In a study by the Brennan center, after examining some 23.5 million votes in 42 jurisdictions, it found about 30 suspected illegal voters. Accidents, rather than broader conspiracies, were the explanation for them.

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