Trump on immigration: Fact check

President Donald Trump spoke to reporters Tuesday and tweeted at length about immigration and border security, saying...

Posted: Apr 4, 2018 10:47 AM
Updated: Apr 4, 2018 10:47 AM

President Donald Trump spoke to reporters Tuesday and tweeted at length about immigration and border security, saying the US "basically" has "no border."

Here's what he said and what the reality is.

The caravan

Trump: "I just noticed that the caravan now, which is toward the middle of Mexico, coming up from Honduras, is breaking up very rapidly. That's because Mexico has very strong immigration laws, as we should have. ... I've just heard that the caravan coming up from Honduras is broken up, and Mexico did that. And they did it because, frankly, I said you really have to do it."

Reality: There is an annual event organized by activists where migrants caravan through Mexico to the US, designed to highlight the dangerous journey that immigrants must undertake to escape violent and unstable conditions in their home countries. The migrants on the journey hope to make it to the US border, where they can make a claim that they qualify for asylum.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted Tuesday that Mexican officials had told her the "caravan is dissipating" and that several hundred of the migrants had been sent back to their home countries, while others are being offered refugee status. "I thank the GOM (Government of Mexico) for their partnership on this and other security issues," she tweeted.

Earlier Tuesday, Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso had tweeted the caravan was "dispersing" on its own and that Mexico's immigration policies would not be influenced by foreign threats. The Foreign Ministry told CNN that the caravan was not necessarily ending but that people were separating. In a statement Monday night, Mexico's Foreign Ministry had said that roughly 400 of the participants had been returned to their home countries. Organizers still estimated that over 1,000 participants were continuing on the journey.

Military on the border

Trump: "We have very bad laws for our border and we are going to be doing some things, I spoke with (Defense Secretary) Gen. (James) Mattis, we're going to do some things militarily, until we can have a wall and proper security -- we're going to be guarding our border with the military. That's a big step."

Reality: The administration has yet to articulate how this plan will work.

Military resources being used for border security would not be entirely novel. For one, the US Army Corps of Engineers already handles border infrastructure and construction.

The National Guard has also been sent to the border in the past, especially during surges of migration much higher than levels seen today.

From 2006 to 2008, under President George W. Bush, 6,000 National Guard troops were deployed to southern border states under Operation Jump Start. The troops repaired and constructed border fencing and flew border protection agents by helicopter to intercept immigrants trying to enter illegally. In 2010, the Obama administration deployed National Guard troops to assist US Customs and Border Protection with surveillance and intelligence gathering while the agency worked to hire additional staff.

And in 2014, as a surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America crossed into the United States, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced the activation of up to 1,000 National Guard troops to help secure the southern border.

Federal law explicitly prohibits the use of the military for law enforcement, however, without approval from Congress.

Catch and release

Trump: "President Obama made changes that basically created no border, called 'catch and release.' You catch them. You register them. They go into our country. We can't throw them out. And in many cases, they shouldn't be here. ... They're supposed to come back to court. Almost nobody comes back to court."

Reality: When deportable immigrants are arrested, some go into mandatory detention and some have to be released. Immigration officials have discretion on the rest. The US has the capacity to detain only roughly 40,000 immigrants at any given time, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and congressional appropriators, and in this administration and the last, many immigrants who are deemed not to be flight risks and not dangerous are released on their own recognizance or with monitoring technology.

The Trump administration has expressed frustration in recent days with measures in the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and a 2015 court ruling on what's known as the Flores Settlement Agreement, a court case that goes back decades. Both created protections for children in immigration custody. Unaccompanied minors from non-neighboring countries must be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services for resettlement within three days of arrest, as opposed to being held in lengthy detention, and children with their families also cannot be held in lengthy detention.

To respond to that order, the Obama administration began releasing the families from detention, as opposed to releasing the children without their parents. Trump administration officials have referred to these measures as "loopholes" that criminals "exploit," though advocates and supporters say they are human rights and constitutional rights protections for vulnerable populations.

The Trump administration has also been trying to tighten the rights of asylum seekers. Asylum is a policy under international law and US law that says noncitizens who can show they are likely to be persecuted in their home countries can legally stay in the US. If an immigrant tells an officer at the border that they fear persecution, they are given a "credible fear" test to determine if they may have a claim. Based on US Citizenship and Immigration Services data, the credible fear passage rate was nearly 80% in fiscal year 2017, which takes into account that these individuals are likely to be traumatized, unfamiliar with US law and have little English-language skills.

Because of a massive backlog in the immigration courts, it can take years for those cases to work their way to completion, and many immigrants are given the ability to work and live in the US in the meantime, putting down roots.

According to Justice Department data, 25% of asylum decisions were given in absentia in 2016, meaning those immigrants were not in court. That number in 2015 and 2016 was higher than years previous. Also according to the data, 43% of asylum petitions were eventually granted in 2016, a number that continued the downward trend of recent years.

Blaming Congress

Trump: "Congress must immediately pass Border Legislation, use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People. Border Patrol Agents (and ICE) are GREAT, but the weak Dem laws don't allow them to do their job. Act now Congress, our country is being stolen." (Tweeted Monday).

Reality: A bill that represented the White House's proposal to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump has ended, would not have passed even with the so-called nuclear option -- allowing legislation to pass with only a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes it now requires to advance bills. Trump's bill, which included hardline immigration measures, border security and drastically cutting legal and family-based migration, got only 39 votes, including those of three Democrats.

A bipartisan proposal that picked up eight Republicans and nearly all Democrats would have passed in that scenario, getting 54 votes. That bill, which would have created a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, given Trump $25 billion for border security and put some restrictions on family-based immigration, failed to get enough support after the administration aggressively attacked it before the votes.

In the House, a proposal from immigration hardliners that also meets much of Trump's wish list has languished. Despite Republican leadership whipping the bill, it lacks even enough Republican votes to pass the lower chamber, and would be dead on arrival in the Senate.

Huntsville
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 84°
Florence
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 83°
Fayetteville
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 84°
Decatur
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 83°
Scottsboro
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 82°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12743242
Mobile9565206
Montgomery6521148
Madison525030
Tuscaloosa410371
Unassigned347461
Baldwin344323
Shelby320133
Marshall309034
Lee262844
Morgan233017
Etowah207530
DeKalb177113
Calhoun170413
Elmore169438
Walker150264
Houston136412
Russell13422
Dallas131123
St. Clair131016
Limestone128413
Franklin125820
Cullman120112
Colbert115613
Lauderdale113917
Autauga106521
Escambia105416
Talladega98613
Jackson9454
Tallapoosa84979
Chambers83538
Dale82323
Blount7743
Chilton7676
Butler75935
Coffee7475
Covington72620
Pike6907
Barbour5695
Lowndes56724
Marion56724
Marengo54614
Clarke4969
Hale46726
Bullock45411
Winston44411
Perry4364
Wilcox41810
Bibb4164
Monroe4154
Randolph39410
Pickens3849
Conecuh38210
Sumter36218
Lawrence3441
Macon33213
Washington32712
Crenshaw3133
Choctaw27912
Cherokee2637
Geneva2550
Henry2523
Greene25011
Clay2495
Lamar2172
Fayette1985
Cleburne1251
Coosa1012
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 118782

Reported Deaths: 1206
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby22635302
Davidson20185212
Rutherford640453
Hamilton597052
Knox440737
Williamson344825
Sumner336573
Unassigned30809
Out of TN284216
Wilson222923
Montgomery188313
Bradley187412
Sevier18307
Putnam171717
Trousdale15826
Robertson152119
Hamblen137214
Blount124310
Washington12002
Tipton11839
Maury11787
Madison102417
Sullivan93312
Bedford90811
Hardeman87517
Macon85613
Lake7820
Loudon7183
Bledsoe6901
Fayette6708
Gibson6705
Anderson6686
Dickson6662
Dyer6197
Cheatham5737
Jefferson5523
Henderson5472
Lawrence5346
McMinn52420
Rhea5221
Obion5194
Coffee5073
Warren4984
Carter4976
Lauderdale4878
Haywood4576
Hardin4538
Cocke4502
Greene4477
Smith4464
Hawkins4357
Roane4332
Cumberland4126
Monroe4079
Weakley3974
Giles36913
McNairy3665
DeKalb3392
Franklin3134
Carroll2903
Marshall2833
Lincoln2761
White2735
Henry2660
Crockett2604
Johnson2580
Claiborne2550
Hickman2530
Campbell2391
Wayne2252
Marion2164
Chester2112
Decatur1983
Polk1953
Grainger1940
Overton1751
Unicoi1560
Union1500
Cannon1420
Benton1391
Humphreys1203
Jackson1181
Scott1180
Grundy1112
Morgan1031
Sequatchie1020
Meigs1010
Fentress880
Hancock781
Perry770
Clay740
Stewart730
Lewis711
Moore600
Houston570
Van Buren350
Pickett311

Community Events