CNN fact-checks Trump immigration claims

CNN's Alisyn Camerota fact-checks the Trump administration's claims on immigration.

Posted: Apr 6, 2018 12:50 PM
Updated: Apr 6, 2018 12:53 PM

President Donald Trump's new focus on curbing border crossings and his surprising (even to the Pentagon) plot-twisting decision to deploy the National Guard runs at crosscurrents with the credit he wants for curbing border crossings.

Those conflicting ideas were captured in his Thursday morning tweet.

"The Caravan is largely broken up thanks to the strong immigration laws of Mexico and their willingness to use them so as not to cause a giant scene at our Border. Because of the Trump Administrations actions, Border crossings are at a still UNACCEPTABLE 46 year low. Stop drugs!"

The contradictory portion of the tweet is bookended by separate but related issues.

The caravan he's talking about is the group of Central American migrants making their way through Mexico en route to the United States. CNN's latest reporting is not that it's ending, but rather breaking into smaller groups. The aim of members is to find a US official at the border and seek asylum.

Regarding drugs, Trump has long complained of drugs crossing the border.

The contradictory sentence is the third one.

"Because of the Trump Administrations actions, Border crossings are at a still UNACCEPTABLE 46 year low," Trump writes, the day after his DHS secretary said he signed a proclamation ordering the National Guard to the border.

It's interesting and telling that there are not yet any details about that Guard shift to the border; Trump's decision caught pretty much everyone by surprise.

The contradiction is that he wants credit for lowering border crossings, but suddenly thinks the problem is so urgent as to require military intervention.

If his administration is doing such a good job containing border crossings, why not a more measured process to determine the mission, scope, role and, most important, location where National Guard troops should be deployed, if at all?

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen even called it the "Trump effect" when she briefed reporters at the White House Wednesday -- pointing out that his policies had led to a decrease in crossings during his first year in office.

But then she said that despite the many actions the administration has taken to discourage them and to end programs, "we've recently seen the numbers of illegal border crossings rise from 40-year lows last April, back to previous levels."

That's the opposite of what Trump said Thursday -- that crossings were at a 46-year low.

In Nielsen's telling, the return to previous levels of border crossings is because "criminals, smugglers, TCOs, and the illegal aliens that serve as their currency," had waited to find ways to exploit legal loopholes.

She pointed to asylum laws and had data that she said proved immigrants are working the system in their favor, claiming "credible fear" back home.

Crossings data maintained by DHS seems to back up a surge compared to the crater in crossings in 2017, but less than from other recent years at this time.

The point is that in justifying his deploying of the National Guard, Trump's DHS secretary is pointing to a dangerous surge, but that in his tweet, Trump still wants credit for success.

In the proclamation authorizing deploying the National Guard, Trump ignores specific data of border crossings, but rather cites general "lawlessness" at the border and specifically argues that the flow of drugs and the gang MS-13 compel him to act.

It's worth reading that portion of his proclamation:

The security of the United States is imperiled by a drastic surge of illegal activity on the southern border. Large quantities of fentanyl, other opioids, and other dangerous and illicit drugs are flowing across our southern border and into our country at unprecedented levels, destroying the lives of our families and loved ones. Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and other deadly transnational gangs are systematically exploiting our unsecured southern border to enter our country and develop operational capacity in American communities throughout the country. The anticipated rapid rise in illegal crossings as we head into the spring and summer months threatens to overwhelm our Nation's law enforcement capacities.

It's also worth bearing in mind that Trump has pivoted in April to a hard focus on the border and his frustration with Congress. That he also has an eye on midterm elections, where Republicans are facing headwinds, and how that issue will play with the voters who put him in the White House, has been documented by CNN's Jeremy Diamond.

But stoking fear about border crossings will be more difficult for him if he also wants to argue that he's been effective at keeping border crossings down.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 996341

Reported Deaths: 16245
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1343262101
Lake658231151
Allen57160791
Hamilton45963460
St. Joseph43954607
Elkhart35546503
Vanderburgh31975473
Tippecanoe27694256
Johnson24821440
Hendricks23647353
Porter22735362
Madison18538404
Clark18383248
Vigo17274300
Monroe15117197
LaPorte14987249
Delaware14931256
Howard14574286
Kosciusko12166147
Hancock11597175
Bartholomew11447179
Warrick11225188
Floyd10983214
Wayne10840248
Grant9898217
Morgan9361176
Boone8819115
Dubois8210129
Dearborn815492
Henry8107150
Noble7944106
Marshall7786134
Cass7462119
Lawrence7379168
Shelby7115114
Jackson691788
Gibson6480113
Harrison641591
Huntington630299
Knox6269105
DeKalb623796
Montgomery6184109
Miami586595
Putnam573477
Clinton567171
Whitley558055
Steuben550473
Wabash5250101
Jasper520475
Jefferson504695
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Adams472773
Daviess4596112
Scott433968
Greene421196
Wells419787
Clay418460
White414261
Decatur4118101
Fayette402186
Jennings383260
Posey374243
LaGrange352078
Washington352049
Randolph339999
Spencer336442
Fountain331858
Sullivan326652
Starke310868
Owen310169
Fulton304566
Orange290562
Jay278445
Perry264452
Franklin262742
Carroll258232
Rush257232
Vermillion254254
Parke229726
Pike227343
Tipton225659
Blackford187840
Pulaski181155
Crawford158122
Newton155648
Benton150117
Brown144047
Martin137319
Switzerland133911
Warren120116
Union106615
Ohio84012
Unassigned0532

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1494160

Reported Deaths: 23327
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1623021662
Cuyahoga1442512412
Hamilton1042291409
Montgomery729771240
Summit607921094
Lucas55462904
Butler50923707
Stark457361053
Lorain34972568
Warren32373369
Mahoning30168672
Clermont27861321
Lake26543434
Delaware23920162
Licking23442283
Trumbull22420552
Fairfield22117241
Greene22014311
Medina21673305
Clark19567349
Richland18260280
Portage17616247
Wood17174220
Allen15672269
Miami15305296
Muskingum14481174
Columbiana13656263
Wayne13538263
Tuscarawas12415298
Marion11760175
Scioto11336154
Pickaway11264141
Erie10613180
Ross10425196
Lawrence9638137
Hancock9504149
Ashtabula9410197
Belmont9086197
Geauga8795157
Jefferson8455191
Huron8193139
Union809156
Washington8009137
Sandusky7677145
Athens767072
Knox7571138
Darke7530151
Seneca7184144
Ashland6776125
Auglaize664896
Shelby6392111
Brown627382
Crawford6159130
Mercer606793
Defiance6059102
Fulton590596
Highland587199
Madison585776
Clinton575190
Logan569092
Guernsey568467
Preble5640121
Putnam5238108
Williams516784
Perry511761
Champaign502971
Jackson495470
Ottawa477886
Coshocton468382
Morrow449056
Pike429962
Fayette420760
Adams409987
Gallia409865
Hardin409276
Van Wert362378
Henry357171
Holmes3549122
Hocking350378
Wyandot316561
Carroll295459
Paulding275145
Meigs257849
Monroe212153
Noble195646
Morgan190132
Harrison177842
Vinton161724
Unassigned05
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