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Fact-checking cheat sheet for Trump’s immigration address

Fact-checking cheat sheet for Trump's immigration address

By Salvador Rizzo, Glenn Kessler and Meg Kelly | The Washington Submit

President Donald Trump can be talking from the Oval Workplace tonight to make the case for $5.7 billion to start out constructing a wall alongside the southern U.S. border – the crux of a funding deadlock with Congress that has led to a partial authorities shutdown.

We have already got a reasonably good sense of the claims he’ll make — because the president and his aides have been utilizing them for weeks.

Right here’s a information to 20 potential assertions the president will make tonight.

The state of affairs alongside our southern border is a nationwide disaster.

By any out there measure, there isn’t any new disaster on the border.

Apprehensions of individuals making an attempt to cross the southern border peaked most lately at 1.6 million in 2000 and have been in decline since, partly due to know-how upgrades, harder penalties post-9/11, a decline in migration charges from Mexico and a pointy rise within the variety of Border Patrol officers.

Customs and Border Safety reported 303,916 apprehensions on the U.S.-Mexico border for fiscal 2017, the bottom in additional than 45 years. In fiscal 2018, apprehensions elevated to 396,579, however that was lower than half the whole of 2007.

There are much more instances of vacationers overstaying their visas than southwest border apprehensions. In fiscal 2016, U.S. officers reported 408,870 southwest border apprehensions and 544,676 suspected in-country overstays. For fiscal 2017, the Division of Homeland Safety reported 606,926 suspected in-country overstays, or twice the variety of southwest border apprehensions.

The wall will probably be paid for by the brand new U.S.-Mexico-Canada commerce deal.

This can be a 4-Pinocchio (whopper-sized) declare. Through the marketing campaign, Trump greater than 200 occasions promised Mexico would pay for the wall, which the administration says would value at the least $18 billion. Now he says the minor working of the North American Free Commerce Settlement (NAFTA) will earn sufficient cash for pay for the wall. This betrays a misunderstanding of economics. Nations don’t “lose” cash on commerce deficits, so there isn’t any cash to earn; the dimensions of a commerce deficit or surplus may be decided by different elements apart from commerce. Congress should nonetheless applicable the cash, and the commerce settlement has not been ratified.

I’ve already began constructing the wall.

No, Trump has not began constructing the wall. Congress solely appropriated cash for bollard fencing, alternative fencing or secondary fencing. Trump typically refers to a wall that was began in California, however that’s merely bollard fencing that had been deliberate in 2009. This can be a Bottomless Pinocchio declare. (These claims should have acquired Three or 4 Pinocchios beforehand, they usually should have been repeated no less than 20 occasions.)

The wall shall be constructed by good previous American metal corporations that have been virtually out of enterprise.

Trump typically hypes the impression of his metal tariffs on the metal enterprise. Metal corporations weren’t virtually out of enterprise. U.S. Metal has restarted some blast furnaces and its income and income initially went up, however metal shares have plunged in current months as worldwide metal costs have fallen, led by a decline in metal costs in China. Barron’s stories that of the 13 shares within the metal subindex of the Normal & Poor’s 1500 composite, all however one are down yr thus far by a mean of almost 25 %. Furthermore, even with the home metal mills operating at 80 % capability, america must necessary 30 million tons of metal, Barron’s stated.

The place would that metal come from? At present, 50 % comes from Canada, Brazil and South Korea. Mexico and Russia provide 9 % every.

I by no means stated it might be a concrete wall.

Au contraire. Trump has stated it repeatedly: On Dec 31, he tweeted: “An all-concrete wall was NEVER ABANDONED.”

The wall in Israel is 99.9 % efficient.

Just one-tenth of the Israeli barrier with Palestinian territories is a 25-foot concrete wall. The opposite 90 % is a six-foot-high digital fence. As for 99.9 %, these numbers are a fantasy. The New York Occasions in 2016 reported on an enormous smuggling business that simply evades the Israeli safety fence and wall that divides Israeli and Palestinian areas.

U.S. officers have blocked almost four,000 recognized or suspected terrorists from getting into the nation.

The Trump administration typically factors to the three,755 recognized or suspected terrorists who have been blocked by the Division of Homeland Safety from getting into the USA in fiscal 2017. We gave 4 Pinocchios to the administration when officers repurposed this determine to say “10 terrorists a day” try to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

The issue with this speaking level is that the administration has not stated what number of of those three,755 people tried to cross by way of the border, versus airports or by sea.

Probably the most that DHS officers will concede is that “most of these individuals are trying to enter the U.S. by air, but we must also be focused on stopping those who try to get in by land.”

In accordance with the State Division, on the finish of 2017, “there was no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels, or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.” The report added, “The U.S. southern border remains vulnerable to potential terrorist transit, although terrorist groups likely seek other means of trying to enter the United States.”

DHS knowledge present that the majority people on the terrorist watch listing — a special statistic than encounters with recognized or suspected terrorists — try and enter by air. A lot of the 2,554 individuals on the terrorist watch record who have been encountered by U.S. officers in 2017 tried to enter via airports (2,170) or by sea (49).

“There is no wave of terrorist operatives waiting to cross overland into the United States,” Nicholas Rasmussen, the previous director of the Nationwide Counterterrorism Middle for the George W. Bush, Obama and Trump administrations, wrote on Simply Safety. “It simply isn’t true.”

He wrote:

“Here is ground truth on this issue. Terrorist groups like al-Qa’ida and ISIS spend time talking about, brainstorming and even fantasizing about ways in which they can do harm to the United State. At times, those conversations have certainly included discussion of ways in which terrorist operatives might be inserted into the Homeland. But we also knew from intelligence reporting that terrorist groups have very high regard for our Homeland Security capabilities, including our border security. They know we had become a much “harder” goal than on the time of 9/11 and that getting their operatives into america is a particularly difficult proposition.

“In part, that’s why terrorist groups pivoted in recent years to a different business model. Rather than focusing on trying to insert a terrorist operative from abroad, it has proven to be far easier for an organization like ISIS or al-Qaida to inspire or motivate an individual already inside the United States to act on their behalf. That change has left us with the threat condition that prevails today, in which the greatest terrorism threat we face is from what we call Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs) — in most cases individuals who were either born here or have lived here for most of their adult lives.”

There have been almost three,000 special-interest aliens who’ve been stopped on the border.

Homeland Safety Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen additionally has been making the case for a border wall by mentioning “special interest aliens,” which isn’t the identical as “known or suspected terrorists.” (Trump tends to say “terrorists,” however Nielsen is extra cautious.)

This determine requires context. In line with the Division of Homeland Safety, there have been three,028 particular curiosity aliens crossing by means of the southern border in fiscal yr 2017.

However a “special interest alien” shouldn’t be essentially a terrorist, and DHS has given no breakdown of how most of the three,028 people have ties to terrorism.

An assistant homeland safety secretary within the Obama administration testified to Congress in 2016 that “the majority of individuals that are traveling, be they from special interest alien countries or other places, we found the large majority of these individuals are actually fleeing violence from other parts of the world.”

In response to DHS: “Often these are individuals who have obtained false documents, or used smugglers to evade security across multiple countries. In addition, some have engaged in criminal activity that could pose a danger to the United States, and some are found to have links to terrorism after additional investigative work and analysis by CBP personnel.”

Sounds scary, till you dig slightly deeper.

“Zero people were murdered or injured in terrorist attacks committed on U.S. soil by special interest aliens who entered illegally from 1975 through the end of 2017,” in line with the libertarian Cato Institute. “However, seven special interest aliens who initially entered illegally have been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. They all entered illegally from Canada or jumped ship in American ports before the list of special interest countries even existed. None of them successfully carried out their attacks and none illegally crossed the Mexican border.”

The variety of terror-watchlisted encountered on the southern border has elevated over the previous two years.

With out minimizing the potential menace, this declare ought to be taken with a heavy dose of salt, as a result of it’s unimaginable to match her numbers. Did it improve from three to 5, or 100 to 150? There’s no indication in any respect. As famous above, the State Division says there’s no credible info that terrorists have tried to enter via the southern border.

Being on the terrorist watch listing doesn’t essentially imply you’re a terrorist, because the late-Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., would attest.

Within the final yr, 17,000 adults with felony data have been arrested by border brokers

That is deceptive. Within the 11-month interval by means of August 2018, CBP officers encountered 16,831 individuals convicted of crimes in america or overseas, however 63 % of them confirmed up at ports of entry. That covers airports and maritime routes, not simply land crossings.

Moreover, the quantity consists of a mixture of violent and nonviolent offenses. A CBP breakdown exhibits that 46.5 % of all of the convictions (not arrests) have been for unlawful entry or reentry.

Prior to now two years, ICE has arrested 235,000 aliens on felony fees or convictions.

It’s essential to needless to say this determine consists of all forms of crimes, together with nonviolent offenses akin to unlawful entry or reentry.

In fiscal 2018, ICE carried out 158,581 administrative arrests for civil immigration violations. The company’s year-end report says 105,140 of these (66 %) concerned individuals with felony convictions and 32,977 with pending legal expenses. Of the 143,470 administrative arrests in 2017, 74 % concerned individuals with felony data and 15.5 % who had pending fees.

However these totals cowl all kinds of offenses, together with unlawful entry or reentry. ICE doesn’t break down arrests by sort of crime.

We at the moment are averaging 60,000 unlawful and inadmissible aliens a month on the southern border

The numbers add up, however “inadmissible aliens” usually are not unlawful immigrants. It’s a designation for people who find themselves turned again at authorized ports of entry or apply for asylum.

“Inadmissibles refers to individuals encountered at ports of entry who are seeking lawful admission into the United States but are determined to be inadmissible, individuals presenting themselves to seek humanitarian protection under our laws, and individuals who withdraw an application for admission and return to their countries of origin within a short timeframe,” based on CBP. All of that is authorized.

Utilizing solely the quantity for southwest border apprehensions in fiscal 2018, the typical is roughly 30,000 a month, or half of 60,000.

Final month, greater than 20,000 minors have been smuggled in the USA

Studies have advised that some minors from Central America are coming to the U.S. border with adults who usually are not their mother and father. However the variety of suspected instances of fraudulent parentage is a fraction of the general variety of household models apprehended. The Washington Submit reported, between April 19, when the development was first suspected, and Sept. 30, the top of the 2018 fiscal yr, CBP brokers separated 170 households after figuring out that the kid and grownup touring collectively weren’t associated. That equals a few zero.25 % of all household models apprehended.

Plus, Customs and Border Safety studies simply over 20,000 household models — not minors — have been apprehended on the southern border in each November and December 2018. A household unit is outlined by CPB as a minor apprehended with at the least one member of the family.

The immigration courtroom backlog is almost 800,000 instances.

There are 775,510 pending immigration instances in america as of November 2018, in line with Syracuse College’s Transactional Data Entry Clearinghouse (TRAC). That’s a document excessive and a rise from 735,739 in fiscal yr 2018 and 594,959 in fiscal yr 2019. The issue has been exacerbated in current weeks as a result of the federal government shutdown has closed the immigration courts.

However TRAC says the quantity is definitely almost 1.1 million as a result of the Trump administration lately eliminated 330,211 beforehand accomplished instances and put them again on the “pending” rolls. “The transfer of administratively closed cases to the pending workload makes digging out all the more daunting,” TRAC stated in a report. “At the same time, according to the judges, the new policy that does away with their ability to administratively close cases has reduced their tools for managing their dockets.”

So primarily the case load has doubled through the Trump administration.

6,000 gang members, together with MS-13, have been deported by ICE

ICE deported 5,872 gang members in fiscal yr 2018, however there’s no breakdown of what number of have been members of the violent gang MS-13. And in some instances, ICE mistakenly applies a “gang member” label on people who find themselves not truly affiliated with gangs.

As we’ve reported, Trump’s crackdown on MS-13 has had a measurable influence. However the backside line is that we’re speaking about a whole lot of MS-13 members being imprisoned or deported on his watch, not hundreds.

There was a 2,000 % improve in asylum claims over the previous 5 years, with the most important progress coming from Central America.

If the president brings up asylum claims, it’s irrelevant to the query of a border wall. Anybody might arrive at any port of entry at america and request asylum, after which his or her case can be adjudicated. A border wall wouldn’t forestall individuals from requesting asylum. Any border wall would probably be constructed a number of miles inland from the border, so anybody might strategy the wall and be on U.S. territory, permitting them to legally make a request.

Staggering numbers of sick individuals are crossing the border every day

That is an age-old Trumpian declare that has been debunked time and time once more. In the course of the 2016 marketing campaign, he claimed unlawful immigrants have been bringing “tremendous” illness.

However the World Well being Group discovered that, “in spite of the common perception of an association between migration and importation of infectious diseases, there is no systemic association.” Fairly, there’s extra danger of illness spreading from enterprise vacationers or vacationers than migrants. That is partly only a numbers recreation — migrants on the southern border make up a small proportion of all of the individuals getting into america on a given day. Plus, anybody in search of asylum in the USA undergoes a medical screening and examination to determine inadmissible well being circumstances. Additionally they are required to satisfy U.S. immunization necessities earlier than they apply for everlasting U.S. residence.

300 People are killed each week from heroin, 90 % of which floods throughout our southern border

In 2017, greater than 15,000 individuals died from drug overdoses involving heroin in the USA, in response to the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. That works out to about 300 every week.

However whereas 90 % of the heroin bought in the USA comes from Mexico, nearly all of it comes by way of authorized factors of entry. “A small percentage of all heroin seized by CBP along the land border was between Ports of Entry (POEs),” the Drug Enforcement Administration stated in a 2018 report. So Trump’s wall would do little to halt drug trafficking. Trump’s repeated declare that the wall would cease drug trafficking is one other Bottomless Pinocchio declare.

Unlawful visitors is down in sectors with border limitations

Throughout a contentious assembly with then-Home Minority Chief Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Dec. 11, the president argued for the wall by claiming that sectors with limitations have seen an enormous discount in border apprehensions.

“If you look at San Diego, illegal traffic dropped 92 percent once the wall was up,” Trump stated. “El Paso, illegal traffic dropped 72 percent, then ultimately 95 percent once the wall was up. In Tucson, Arizona, illegal traffic dropped 92 percent. Yuma, it dropped illegal traffic 95 to 96 percent.”

However the rub right here could be very easy: These numbers are down in all places alongside the border — in sectors with obstacles or fencing, and in sectors with out them. From 2000 to 2017, southwest border apprehensions declined 81.5 % general. In accordance with the nonpartisan Congressional Analysis Service, the San Diego fence Trump talked about, by itself, “did not have a discernible impact on the influx of unauthorized aliens coming across the border.”

The president can declare a nationwide emergency and have the army construct the wall

This feature almost certainly would throw a wrench into the U.S. army’s plans.

The Washington Publish reported that “the law that authorizes the defense secretary to order military building projects in the event of a national emergency requires the Pentagon to draw upon funds that Congress has already appropriated for military construction.”

“In line with a congressional aide, there’s about $10 billion left in unobligated funds for army development within the present fiscal yr’s protection finances, along with some $13 billion that has rolled over from earlier years. The cash, nevertheless, has been appropriated for particular tasks. This aide, and one other one, spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of they don’t seem to be approved to talk publicly concerning the challenge.

“The Pentagon’s leadership would be forced to decide which of the projects in various stages of completion should see their funds diverted or cut, according to the congressional aide and a defense official. The sorts of projects underway include child-care centers on bases and weapons-range complexes. Any decision to delay or scrap military construction projects on the home front could rankle local congressional delegations and cause political pain for lawmakers.”