Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Toledo Express Airport in September 21, 2020 … [+]
Washington Post fact checkers Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly write in their book that Donald Trump made more false or misleading statements about immigration than any other topic. According to the authors, that says something. Donald Trump and His Assault on the Truth: The President’s Falsehoods, Misleading Claims, and Outright Lies, provide numerous examples of Donald Trump’s statements on immigration and are a valuable resource.
Immigration Tops in the Washington Post Database: “Immigration is the top category of false and misleading claims in our Trump database. It accounts for 15% of the 16,241 total that we actually reviewed in the first three years of Trump’s presidency,” the authors say.
That adds up to a staggering 2,400 or more false and misleading claims made by Donald Trump about immigration, with more than 200 additional statements since the book was published. Trump has repeated many of the false claims about immigration dozens of times, the authors conclude. Below is an example of Trump’s statements.
Mexico pays (not) for the wall: Kessler, Rizzo, and Kelly list Trump’s claim that Mexico pays for the border wall first in the book. During the 2016 presidential campaign and later, Trump claimed Mexico would pay for the wall. “Mexico is paying for the wall. You know that. You will see that. Everything worked out. Mexico pays, “said Trump at a rally on January 14, 2020.
“Spoiler alert: Mexico didn’t pay for the wall. There is also no evidence of it, ”note the authors. “The current construction of the barrier is being paid for with billions of dollars allocated by Congress to the defense budget and raided by Trump for opposition in Congress.” (Emphasis added.)
Family separation: Trump blamed the separation of the children from their parents on the Democratic frontier. “I hate it when children are taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law, “said Trump on June 15, 2018.
“Trump’s family breakups in 2018 caused national turmoil,” said Kessler, Rizzo and Kelly. “US immigration officials separated thousands of Central American migrant children from their parents and sent the children to shelters or relatives while their parents were prosecuted and put on their way to be deported. News from the Trump administration appeared to be Orwellian at times. Senior government officials claimed there was no policy of family separation. The president falsely claimed that existing laws enforced his hand. However, the real reason for the split was Trump’s own zero tolerance policy. “
During the presidential debate on October 22, 2020, Donald Trump attempted to hold the Obama administration responsible for the family segregation policies that Trump advocated and encouraged. “Mr. Trump’s zero tolerance policy was a deliberate act of family segregation designed to deter migrants from entering the US,” Zolan Kanno-Youngs reported in the New York Times after the debate. “It instructed prosecutors to file criminal charges against anyone who crossed the border without authorization, including parents who were separated from their children when they were arrested. “
Immigrants and Crime: “The Democrats are really looking at something that is very dangerous for our country. . . They want illegal immigrants pouring into our country bringing with them crime, enormous amounts of crime, “Trump said on December 6, 2017.
In the book, Kessler, Rizzo and Kelly cite academic research showing that immigrants do not increase crime rates: “Studies show that immigrants and immigration are inversely linked to crime,” the National Academy of Sciences study concluded. “Immigrants are less likely than natives to commit crimes, and neighborhoods with a higher concentration of immigrants have much lower rates of crime and violence than comparable non-immigrant neighborhoods.”
False claims about refugees: “Every Democrat running for president wants to open the floodgates for unlimited refugees from around the world, overwhelm your communities and seriously endanger our national security,” Trump said.
The authors called Trump’s claim false. “Refugees do not overwhelm communities because US officials usually place them in different parts of the country,” they note. “There is no evidence that refugees, including many women and children, pose a threat to national security. Trump often makes false claims linking immigrants to crime. No leading Democrat running for president advocated unlimited refugee admission, though Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren preferred to lower the annual cap from 18,000, where Trump said so after a clampdown in 2019, to over 100,000 to increase. “
Trump Fabrications on the Diversity Visa Lottery: “Trump repeatedly characterizes the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program wrongly and absurdly claims that foreign countries are giving away green cards that grant legal residence in the USA,” the authors write. “In fact, a computer program administered by a State Department in Williamsburg, Kentucky randomly picks up to 50,000 immigrant visa applications per year – out of nearly 15 million in 2017 from countries with low immigration rates.”
Trump has prevented all diversity visa applicants from entering the U.S. in fiscal 2020 by including them in an April 2020 proclamation.
Trump attacks on family immigration: “The president also makes up false facts,” said Kessler, Rizzo and Kelly. “Trump repeatedly claimed that the Uzbek-born man, who was accused of killing eight people in a pickup truck in New York in 2017, had brought two dozen relatives to the United States through so-called chain migration. The actual number is zero. “
The book raises an important question: If Donald Trump’s immigration policy was indeed popular and good for the country, why have journalists found that he lied or misrepresented facts about immigration and its policies thousands of times?