Fact-checking of Trump's speech to end the arrest


"The requests we presented to Congress are fundamental to end the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border".

Trump has returned to this line again and again in the debate on the border wall. This statement makes two statements: that there is a security crisis and a humanitarian crisis at the border. Here's what the numbers show.

In terms of volume, border concerns have increased compared to 2017, but they are still far from the previous years, when arrests exceeded one million. In the early 2000s, there were months when over 100,000 migrants were illegally stopped by crossing the southern border.

In terms of the humanitarian crisis, the administration has increasingly used this language, saying that families will not try to make an often dangerous journey to the United States if a wall is built. In December, the death of two undocumented children in US custody drew attention to the conditions of US facilities that illegally detain those who have been arrested crossing the border.

In recent years there has been a change in the population that has approached the border between the United States and Mexico: from single men to families and children, many of whom seek asylum. In December, the US border patrol arrested 27,518 family members, an increase of almost 240% compared to the previous December, with 8,120 arrests. They also come largely from the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras).

Violence, drought and poor economic conditions in these countries are among the reasons why some have decided to make the trip.

In 2016, almost half of those arrested at the US-Mexico border came from these three countries, compared to about 10% in 2010, according to data from the National Security Department.

Existing barriers

"Our country has built 654 miles of barriers in the last 15 years and every Border Patrol agent I spoke to told me that the walls work".

Trump is right in saying that the physical barriers cover 654 miles of the southern border, which extends for almost 2,000 miles. Here is a breakdown of the two types of fencing that exist:

What is known as vehicle fencing covers 280 miles. This is the fencing that is on the ground. It would stop a car, but people can easily bypass it. Much of this fence exists in sparsely populated areas where it would be dangerous for people to travel.

What is known as a pedestrian fence covers about 374 miles. This is higher and designed to prevent people from crossing on foot.

The construction of the federal-funded border fence, as we know, began with a 14-mile stretch near San Diego. Construction began during George H.W. Bush's presidency and continued in Bill Clinton's first term. The law on immigration and the reform of illegal immigration, which Clinton signed into law in 1996, authorized the fortification of that fencing.

Then, in 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act, authorizing the construction of approximately 700 miles of fence along the US-Mexico border. Since 2007, says the Protection of Customs and Borders, has spent about $ 2.3 billion for the fencing and related infrastructure along the border.

It is also true that the border patrol has identified areas where a wall is useful, but does not cover the entire southern border and would be combined with other security measures, such as advanced technology.

Forced immigration courts

"Our backlog in immigration courts is now much larger than the 800,000 cases you've heard in the last two years."

This is true. The nation's immigration courts have faced a massive backlog. The number of pending cases is 809,041, according to Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which records data from immigration courts.
The closure of the government has made the situation worse, as only the courts that handle the machine guns held (cases of people in immigration detention) have been allowed to proceed. A report published by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at the beginning of this month found that an estimated 42,726 court hearings on immigration were canceled following closure. It is not clear when they will be rescheduled.

Keep the drug out

"I believe that drugs, most of which we will arrive through the southern border, will be cut by a number that no one will believe, so let me be very clear we have no choice but to build a powerful wall or a barrier of d & # 39; steel".

It is important to note in advance that most of the narcotics occupied by customs and border protection come from the ports of entry. The only drug that is smuggled into higher numbers between legal entry points – where a wall or an additional fence could be built – is marijuana, according to information from the CBP and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

For example, in the 2018 fiscal year, the CBP seized 67,292 pounds of methamphetamine in legal entry ports and 10,382 pounds of border patrol agents between ports, according to available data.

It is not clear what "border security" measures Trump is talking about, but if they do not include a more effective control of what is coming from our ports of entry, it will probably be a drip reduction and not the SeaWorld Trump splash suggests .

A wall would have cut the crime

"I believe that the crime in this country can drop by a huge percentage if we have great security on our southern border".

As a reason to build the wall, Trump has repeatedly cited crimes committed by undocumented immigrants – both during his presidential campaign and in his speech on the state of the Union, where he also invited family members of the victims.

A 2018 study by the libertarian Catone Institute, which examined data on the criminal conviction of the Texas Department of Public Security, found that legal or illegal immigrants are less likely to be convicted of offenses. Throughout the country, according to the FBI, there is also a decrease in the number of violent crimes.
Other studies have found that murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault have not grown along with the increase in undocumented immigration since 1990, that undocumented migrants do not contribute the increase in overdoses and deaths for DUI, and that young undocumented immigrants engage in less crime than their American or legal immigrant peers.

Democrats and the wall

"Most Democrats in Congress have voted in the past for projects that include walls and physical barriers and very powerful enclosures."

In the last decade there are two pieces of important legislation that include building a physical barrier. Here's how the Democrats voted:
The Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorized the creation of hundreds of miles of fences on the southern border, is often referred to as a way to support this point of discussion of Trump. Then, 26 Democratic senators voted in favor, while 17 voted against. In the House, 131 voted against legislation while 64 voted in favor.

In 2013, 54 Democratic senators supported a provision in an immigration law that included doubling the existing fence along the southern border.

While some Democrats have backed legislation requiring the construction of physical barriers along the southern border, it is unclear whether most have it.

Concrete wall

"We do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall from the sea to the shimmering sea, we've never done it, we've never proposed it".

CNN could not find an instance where Trump had proposed a 2,000-mile-long concrete wall from the sea to the sea. In his campaign launch in 2015, Trump said he would "build a large, large wall on our southern border and have Mexico to pay for that wall," but the language is rather imprecise and it is not clear if he meant the wall to be built along the entire southern border.

The President changed his opinion on concrete and steel and other materials. In a campaign address in 2015, he was asked what the wall would be like: "I'll tell you what it will be done in. It will be made of hardened concrete, and it will be made of rebar for steel and concrete."

In an interview last month at the Los Angeles Times, former White House chief John Kelly said the concept of a concrete wall was abandoned "at the start of the day. administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed them ". Trump rejected this claim, however, tweeting At the end of December, "A concrete wall is NEVER ABANDONED, as reported by the media, some areas will be all concrete but Border Patrol experts prefer a wall that is visible (making it possible to see what is happening from both parts.) It makes sense to me! "

Geneva Sands and Catherine E. Shoichet from CNN contributed to this report.



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