CLAIM: A copy of Vice President Kamala Harris’ book is being given to every migrant child in a Long Beach facility housing unaccompanied minors who recently arrived at the border.
THE FACTS: After the New York Post published a story that falsely claimed that migrant children were each receiving welcome kits with copies of Harris’ children’s book, “Superheroes Are Everywhere,” the misinformation was picked up by other media outlets and spread quickly on social media.
“White House Denies Knowing Anything about Kamala Harris’ Book Ending Up in Welcome Bags For Illegal Migrant Children in California,” reads the headline of an article by DJHJ Media that was shared on Facebook.
A video echoing the false claim shared thousands of times on Facebook includes the caption, “IS KAMALA CASHING IN ON BOOKS AT THE BORDER?” In fact, Kevin Lee, chief public affairs officer for the City of Long Beach, told the AP a sole copy of Harris’ book was donated to the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, which opened last week as an emergency influx facility for children who arrive at the border without their parents.
At an April 22 media tour, a Reuters photographer snapped a photo of Harris’ book resting on a cot next to a black backpack, a purple blanket, and a set of toiletries.
“The City of Long Beach, in partnership with the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, has a citywide book and toy drive that is ongoing to support the migrant children who are temporarily staying in Long Beach at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shelter,” Lee said in a statement.
“The single book you reference is one of hundreds of various books that have already been donated. The book was not purchased by HHS or the City.”
Lee also clarified that the children “do not receive a welcome kit.” Nor do they receive books. They do get hygiene items and clothes, and can read books and play with toys that are part of the donated inventory, according to Lee.
Sabrina Singh, deputy press secretary to the vice president, told the AP: “The Office of the Vice President was not aware that her children’s book was donated.”
On Tuesday, the New York Post updated two stories to reflect that there was only one donated copy of Harris’ book. The reporter who wrote the original article, Laura Italiano, resigned. In a tweet, Italiano referred to the article as “an incorrect story that I was ordered to write and which I failed to push back hard enough against.”