By Katie Mettler | The Washington Publish
President Donald Trump has a brand new favourite anecdote, one which fixates on tape.
Particularly, in public remarks at the White Home, at the border and at farming conventions, the president has been talking about tape on the mouths of migrant women. On at least eight events over a interval of 12 days this month, the president has argued publicly for his proposed wall on the southern border by claiming with out proof that traffickers tie up and silence women with tape earlier than illegally driving them by way of the desert from Mexico to the United States in the backs of automobiles and windowless vans.
In Trump’s telling, the adhesive is usually blue tape. Different occasions it’s electrical tape or duct tape.
In some situations, the descriptions are extra salacious and graphic. “Human trafficking – grabbing women, in particular – and children, but women – taping them up, wrapping tape around their mouths so they can’t shout or scream, tying up their hands behind their back and even their legs and putting them in a back seat of a car or a van – three, four, five, six, seven at a time,” the president stated in the Cupboard Room on Jan. 11.
With an eerie specificity, Trump has characterised these acts as commonplace.
But human-trafficking specialists and advocates for immigrant women have stated they’re perplexed by this more and more repeated story in Trump’s repertoire – and are at a loss for the place he obtained his info. It was not from them, they are saying; the truth is, they have no idea what he’s talking about.
“I think his statements are completely divorced from reality,” stated Ashley Huebner, affiliate director of authorized providers at the Nationwide Immigrant Justice Middle. “That’s not a fact pattern that we see.”
In interviews with The Washington Publish this week, 9 help staff and teachers who have labored on the border or have information of trafficking there stated the president’s tape anecdote didn’t mirror what they have seen or heard. A separate story reported in the Toronto Star cited a number of further specialists who stated Trump’s lurid narrative – migrant women sure, gagged and pushed throughout the border – doesn’t align with their recognized actuality.
“I have no idea the roots of it,” stated Edna Yang, assistant government director of American Gateways, a Texas-based immigration authorized providers and advocacy nonprofit. “I haven’t seen a case like that.”
“I’ve never had that,” stated Anne Chandler, government director of the Houston workplace of the Tahirih Justice Middle, who stated she has been coping with human trafficking for 20 years and lately met with individuals in Tijuana, touring with a migrant caravan.
“His representation of how traffickers get their victims into the country just isn’t what we’re seeing,” stated Evangeline Chan, director of the Immigration Regulation Venture at Protected Horizon, a number one sufferer help group. “It is very, very different.”
“I’m not really sure where his information is coming from,” stated Leah Chavla, a coverage adviser with the Women’s Refugee Fee, who has made almost 15 journeys to the border since 2017 and has labored with Latin American migrants.
No outstanding information studies have detailed a case that matches the president’s description.
Since Trump took workplace two years in the past, he has made greater than 7,645 false or deceptive claims, based on The Submit’s Reality Checker database, greater than 1,000 of which have been about immigration.
However those that spoke with The Publish didn’t rule out the risk that there are feminine trafficking victims close to the border who have been sure or gagged. They have been additionally cautious to clarify that they might not converse for what others, corresponding to regulation enforcement officers, might have informed the president.
“Could it happen? Sure, it could,” Yang stated.
However the women she has represented have by no means talked about being tied up with tape, she stated, noting that a border wall wouldn’t have saved them from traffickers.
“It’s clear that he just doesn’t have an understanding of what happens at the border,” Yang stated. “I think that all President Trump is doing is pushing a wall. A wall is not going to stop individuals fleeing to the United States when home conditions are terrible. He’s just trying different tactics to get what he wants.”
The White Home didn’t reply to a request for touch upon the origins of the president’s talking level. Questions despatched to the nationwide and state public affairs workplaces for U.S. Customs and Border Safety weren’t answered, maybe due to the authorities shutdown.
The Nationwide Border Patrol Council, the union representing Border Patrol brokers, additionally didn’t reply to a number of inquiries about whether or not any of its members had witnessed a state of affairs matching the president’s description.
Prime officers from the union met with Trump at the White Home on Jan. three to debate border safety; the president started utilizing the taped-mouths anecdote the following day.
President Trump holds up a photograph of a “typical standard wall design” as he speaks throughout a roundtable dialogue on border safety Friday in the White Home Cupboard Room. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Submit)
Migrant women do face nice risks whereas touring to the U.S. border by way of Mexico. Some are fleeing home violence, pressured marriage, sexual exploitation or intercourse trafficking of their residence nations. One Amnesty Worldwide estimate claimed 60 % of migrant women and women are raped on their journey. Experts say women and women take contraception earlier than touring north, in anticipation of the sexual violence they could encounter.
When women, youngsters and males are trafficked into the nation, specialists say it doesn’t occur – at least not recurrently – in the approach Trump has been describing it over the previous two weeks. Typically, the migrants are willingly led on foot to illegally cross the border or legally enter with a visa at a port with the promise of a job once they arrive.
“We have had individuals lured through recruiters and smugglers, not realizing that the job that waits for them is trafficking,” stated Chandler of the Tahirih Justice Middle. “On the journey, at the U.S.-Mexico border, they are completely unaware that they’re walking into a trafficking situation.”
It’s attainable that migrant women have been sure and gagged at stash homes on both aspect of the border, places the place individuals are taken and held for ransom and at occasions sexually exploited, stated Elaine Carey, a dean at Purdue College Northwest who has studied trafficking at the border.
The introduction of the taped women in Trump’s description of border-crossing conditions coincides with a shift in tone by his administration on the want for border wall funding, a request that Congress has refused to grant. The deadlock has led to the longest authorities shutdown in U.S. historical past.
Trump seems to have launched the anecdote on Jan. four whereas chatting with reporters in the Rose Backyard, after a gathering with congressional management on border safety. That was additionally round the time the president started describing the state of affairs at the border as a humanitarian disaster.
In the Rose Backyard, Trump stated he advised assembly attendees that “one of the things that happens there is human traffickers – maybe that’s the worst of all – where you’ll have traffickers having three and four women with tape on their mouths and tied up, sitting in the back of a van or a car.”
Trafficking specialists theorized that the president might have taken this description from a personal dialog he had with a Border Patrol agent.
The day earlier than the anecdote’s Rose Backyard debut, Trump made a shock look in the White Home briefing room and stated the “people in our country want” the wall. (A Washington Submit-ABC Information ballot just lately discovered that 42 % of People help the wall and 54 % oppose it.) Trump was flanked that day by Nationwide Border Patrol Council officers who championed his demand.
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Timeline: Evolution of the tape anecdote
Jan. four, Washington: Remarks in Rose Backyard after assembly with congressional management on border safety
“One of the things that happens there is human traffickers – maybe that’s the worst of all – where you’ll have traffickers having three and four women with tape on their mouths and tied up, sitting in the back of a van or a car, and they’ll drive that van or the car not through a port of entry, where we have very talented people that look for every little morsel of drugs, or even people, or whatever they’re looking for. Not going to go there. They get off the road and they drive out into the desert, and they come on, they make a left turn. Usually it’s a left, not a right.”
Jan. 6, Washington: Remarks on South Garden earlier than Marine One departure
“Human trafficking – where they grab women, put tape over their mouth, come through our border, and sell them. . . .”
” . . . However should you look at the human trafficking, they arrive in, they nab women, they seize them, they put tape over their mouth, they tie their arms, they usually take them to a different nation, they usually go proper over that border.”
Jan. 9, Washington: Signing ceremony in Oval Workplace for “Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act”
“We’re talking about, in many cases, women and children grabbed, thrown into the back seat of a car, or thrown into a van with no windows, with no – any form of air. Tape put across their mouths. And they’re brought across the border. And they don’t go through checkpoints; they go through the emptiest spot they can find, with no walls, with no fences.”
Jan. 10, McAllen, Texas: Roundtable on border safety
“And where there’s no fencing or walls of any kind, they just make a left into the United States, and they come in and they have women tied up. They have tape over their mouths – electrical tape. Usually blue tape, as they call it. It’s powerful stuff. Not good.”
Jan. 11, Washington: Roundtable in Cupboard Room on border safety
“The Internet has made things, in many ways, better, and, in many ways, much worse. But human trafficking – grabbing women, in particular – and children, but women – taping them up, wrapping tape around their mouths so they can’t shout or scream, tying up their hands behind their back and even their legs and putting them in a back seat of a car or a van – three, four, five, six, seven at a time.”
Jan. 12, Fox Information: Interview on “Justice with Judge Jeanine”
“Many of our crimes, much of MS-13, comes through the border, drugs – a big proportion of the drugs from that we have from this country, in this country, come through the border. The human trafficking where they tie women up, they put duct tape over their mouths, electrical tape, and they bring them in. They traffic in women and children, and they come through the border.”
Jan. 14, Washington: Remarks on the South Garden earlier than Marine One departure
“We’re talking about border security. Who could be against it? We’re talking about drugs pouring in – human traffickers tying up women, putting tape on their mouth, and pouring into our country. We can’t have that. We can’t have that.”
Jan. 14, New Orleans: American Farm Bureau Federation 100th annual conference
“They target young children – the Internet. And they come in through our southern border into our country. And they’ll have women taped – their mouths with duct tape, with electrical tape. They tape their face, their hair, their hands behind their back, their legs. They put them in the back seat of cars and vans, and they go – they don’t come in through your port of entry because you’d see them. You couldn’t do that.”