FACT CHECK: President Trump’s Pitch For A Border Wall And Democratic Response
BY SCOTT HORSLEY, JOEL ROSE & JIM ZARROLI
President Trump made his case to the American people Tuesday night for why a massive wall along the Mexican border is necessary, using his first Oval Office address to outline his conditions for ending the 18-day-and-counting partial government shutdown.
“This is a humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” Trump said, explaining why his request for $5.7 billion to build the wall and for additional border security measures is necessary.
Here we check some of the arguments made by the president and top Democrats in their response.
Claim 1: Humanitarian and security crisis
“There is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our Southern border.”
Fact check: Illegal border crossings in the most recent fiscal year (ending in September 2018) were actually lower than either 2016 or 2014 and much lower than at their peak around 2000. The number of unauthorized border-crossers is also dwarfed by the number of people who overstay their visas. But there has been a spike in crossings in the past few months, topping 60,000 in both October and November. And while illegal crossings are still well below the levels of a generation ago, the makeup of the traffic has changed. There are now many more children and families from Central America, who present different challenges than single adults from Mexico.
Many of the Central American migrants are seeking asylum, citing a fear of violence or persecution back home. While the majority of these asylum claims are ultimately rejected, assessing them can take months or years. In the past, asylum-seekers were typically released into the U.S. during this period, a practice the Trump administration criticizes as “catch and release.” The administration wants to detain migrants while their asylum claims are adjudicated. This has led to overcrowded detention centers. And under a court order, young migrants generally cannot be detained for more than about 20 days. (The administration tried to get around that last year with its ill-fated and short-lived family separation policy, to allow indefinite detention of adults while children were turned over to the Health and Human Services Department or resettled with family members.) Importantly, most asylum-seekers turn themselves in to U.S. authorities, which they could do with or without a border wall.
Claim 2: Driving down jobs and wages
“All Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.”
Mohanad Elshieky says Border Patrol agents racially profiled him and held him without cause. The comic, who was granted U.S. asylum in 2018, was on his way home to Portland after a gig in Pullman when the officers confronted him in Spokane. Continue Reading Pullman To Portland Via Spokane On Greyhound: Why A Libyan Comic Is Suing The Border Patrol
Several hundred advocates from across the Northwest rallied in Olympia Wednesday demanding protections for immigrants in Washington. According to ICE, agents are forced to conduct arrests in courthouses because state law prohibits local agencies from enforcing immigration law or collaborating with federal authorities.
Continue Reading Immigrant-Rights Activists Demand Ban On Courthouse Arrests At Olympia Rally
Maria del Rayo Mendoza Garcia was arrested in March this year for allegedly committing a misdemeanor assault, according to the lawsuit. She was detained pending arraignment in front of a judge. But before that could happen, Mendoza’s status as an undocumented woman caught the eye of federal immigration authorities. Continue Reading Woman Sues Okanogan County, Alleging Jail Illegally Kept Her In Custody For Immigration Request