Fact check: Trump’s speech on border ‘crisis’

Trump In Oval Office


01/08/2019 09:31 PM EST

President Donald Trump made several false or misleading statements about illegal immigration and border security in a nationally televised speech Tuesday evening.

The speech, intended to win political support for Trump's proposed $5.7 billion wall along the southern border, came as a partial shutdown of the federal government over the matter stretched into its third week, with affected government employees expected to misstheir first payday on Friday.

Here are some of the untruths and distortions in Trump's speech, most of which he's uttered before.

Is there a growing crisis?

"I am speaking to you because there is a growing and humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. Every day Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousand of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. We are out of space to hold them and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country."

The notion that the number of illegal border crossings represent a "crisis" is not true. The number of people caught crossing at the border (the standard metric for determining the volume of illegal crossings generally) remains below annual levels under President Barack Obama and far below the high levels of the 1990s and early 2000s. Border Patrol arrested 396,579 people at the U.S. Mexico border in fiscal year 2018. The agency arrested an average of 400,751 people per year over the previous decade.


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