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Assessing Trump’s and Biden’s Claims About Immigration and Border Security

Assessing Trump’s and Biden’s Claims About Immigration and Border Security


Large numbers of migrant apprehensions on the southern border have vaulted immigration and border safety onto the checklist of high issues for voters.

Public polling exhibits assist for former President Donald J. Trump’s hard-line method, and President Biden, who made overturning Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda a part of his platform in 2020, has lately reversed course and issued a extra restrictive border coverage.

But a few of Mr. Trump’s most-repeated statements are inaccurate, in warning concerning the stage of unlawful immigration, characterizing unauthorized migrants as criminals making the most of authorities handouts and touting the effectiveness of his personal insurance policies. Mr. Biden, too, has sometimes overstated his earlier proposals on border safety.

Here is a truth verify.

What Was Said

“We had the strongest border ever. I constructed 571 miles of wall. We’re going so as to add one other 200 in three weeks. It was all made, all fabricated. They bought it for 5 cents on the greenback. The wall was all fabricated. I constructed rather more wall than I mentioned I used to be going to construct.”
— in a May radio interview

False. During Mr. Trump’s 2016 marketing campaign, he promised to construct a wall spanning no less than 1,000 miles alongside the southern border and have Mexico pay for it. That didn’t occur. Overall, the Trump administration constructed 458 miles of border limitations — most of which bolstered or changed current constructions. Officials put up new major limitations the place none beforehand existed alongside solely 47 miles.

Contracts had been awarded for a complete of 631 miles of limitations by January 2021, in response to a Government Accountability Office report. When Mr. Biden took workplace and halted all development, the contracted tasks had been in varied states of completion — not “all made” — as officers had run into difficulties with actual property availability, the report mentioned. Some had been anticipated to wrap up by September 2021 and others by September 2022.

It is true that the federal government has bought already procured border wall supplies at a steep low cost, however it’s unlikely 200 miles’ price. Moreover, it’s not atypical for the federal government to take a loss on undesirable provides.

When Mr. Biden ordered a pause on development, the Pentagon had $262 million of already procured border wall materials. For context, the Trump administration spent greater than $6.6 billion and had earmarked $10.5 billion on the border wall, in response to a Government Accountability Office report.

The Army Corps of Engineers retained some supplies for different development tasks, a spokeswoman mentioned, and transferred $202 million price to the Defense Logistics Agency, which handles acquisitions for the Pentagon. Since December, the logistics company has transferred about $60 million price of provides to different federal and state companies, and put up about $40 million up on the market, a spokesman mentioned. It expects to make about 3.5 % of the unique acquisition worth.

The company, which first presents extra items to federal and state companies, additionally sells undesirable provides, electronics and automobiles for a fraction of their authentic price underneath the identical settlement (Humvees at beginning bids of $3,000, for instance).

Mr. Trump’s evaluation of border safety underneath his administration because the “strongest” in historical past is a matter of opinion. Apprehensions within the 2020 fiscal 12 months, even because the coronavirus pandemic floor world motion to a halt, had been increased than in 2011, 2012 and 2015. Mr. Trump additionally confronted a surge in migration on the border: In the 2019 fiscal 12 months, apprehensions topped 800,000 and had been the best in a decade.

What Was Said

“And the numbers are in all probability 16 million, 17 million or 18 million individuals. You’re going to have over 20 million individuals, I believe, I imagine, and plenty of different individuals do, too, by the point he hopefully will get out.”
— in an interview on Fox News in June

This is exaggerated. It is inconceivable to know the precise variety of migrants which have entered the United States, however Mr. Trump’s estimates are hyperbolic.

Since February 2021, the primary full month of Mr. Biden’s presidency, Customs and Border Protection has recorded 9.6 million migrant encounters nationwide. This doesn’t essentially imply that almost 10 million migrants have tried to enter the nation, as one migrant may be “encountered” a number of occasions. Government and impartial analyses have estimated that repeat offenders account for 1 / 4 to greater than half of all encounters.

Outside of official encounters, border officers estimated about 1.7 million migrants evaded seize and entered the United States because the 2021 fiscal 12 months, in response to authorities information obtained by Fox News by a Freedom of Information Act request.

Karoline Leavitt, a Trump marketing campaign spokeswoman, argued that official numbers of evasions are vastly undercounted. But whereas officers have mentioned that the precise quantity might be 20 % increased, Mr. Trump’s estimates would require the quantity to be a number of occasions increased.

More than 4 million migrants have been turned away or deported underneath Mr. Biden. About 3 million had been rapidly expelled underneath a public well being regulation, had been positioned into “expedited elimination” proceedings or voluntarily left.

What Was Said

“Prison inhabitants everywhere in the world is down, and no person is aware of why apart from us. We know why. Because the prisons are being emptied into the United States, and the psychological establishments are being emptied into the United States of America, like we’re a dumping floor.”
— in a May rally in Michigan

“He’s letting tens of millions of individuals from jails, from prisons, from insane asylums, from psychological establishments, drug sellers, pour in. Venezuela, in the event you take a look at their crime statistics, they’ve gone down 72 % in crime as a result of they’re releasing all their criminals into our nation due to this horrible president that we have now.”
— in remarks to reporters in May

This lacks proof. Prison populations everywhere in the world have been growing, not reducing. Penal Reform International, a Netherlands-based nonprofit, estimated that the worldwide jail inhabitants was a file 11.5 million in 2023, a rise of 500,000 individuals since 2020.

Regarding Venezuela, Ms. Leavitt, the Trump marketing campaign spokeswoman, cited a September 2022 article in Breitbart, a conservative web site. One unnamed supply instructed Breitbart that officers believed an unspecified variety of Venezuelan jail inmates had been headed for the United States’ southern border with Mexico. (No different information group or authorities supply has verified this report.)

Ms. Leavitt additionally pointed to stories warning that Tren de Aragua, a transnational legal gang based in Venezuela, was rising within the United States.

But none of that is proof that “tens of millions” of criminals are infiltrating the southern border.

Customs and Border Protection reported apprehending 47 members of Tren de Aragua alongside the southern border underneath Mr. Biden.

Ms. Leavitt pointed to a Bloomberg article in December 2023 a couple of Caracas-based analysis group reporting the bottom murder price in 22 years. Annual stories from that group, the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, present a 25 % decline within the nation’s murder price from 2022 to 2023, and a 41 % decline since 2020. In comparability, the murder price declined much more precipitously whereas Mr. Trump was president, by nearly 50 % from 2016.

The Venezuelan Prison Observatory instructed Univision in 2022, when Mr. Trump first made the declare, that the prisons within the nation had not been emptied and quite had been at 170 % capability. According to the group’s newest annual report, Venezuela’s jail inhabitants stood at 33,558 in 2022, about stage with its 2021 inhabitants of 33,710.

What Was Said

“If the Biden invasion will not be stopped, it’s going to additionally demolish Medicare and Social Security. It can’t survive, however it can’t survive 20 million individuals coming into the nation.”

“It was lately introduced that crooked Joe is now giving Obamacare and all free authorities well being care to unlawful aliens.”
— in a May rally in New Jersey

False. Unauthorized immigrants really enhance the monetary well being of each Social Security and Medicare. And the Biden administration’s announcement in May that sure migrants may buy — not obtain without cost — doubtlessly sponsored medical insurance utilized solely to those that had been delivered to the United States as youngsters.

Federal regulation bars unauthorized immigrants from receiving Social Security or Medicare advantages, however they pay into each applications. In a 2013 report, the Social Security Administration estimated that 3.1 million unauthorized immigrants had been working and paying Social Security taxes. They contributed about $12 billion to the belief in 2010 and about $100 billion over a decade. A 2016 examine estimated that unauthorized immigrants contributed about $35.1 billion to Medicare from 2000 to 2011.

The Center for Immigration Studies, a assume tank that helps curbs on immigration, famous that “unlawful immigration unambiguously advantages the Social Security and Medicare belief funds,” however added that giving migrants authorized standing would reverse these good points. The Trump marketing campaign argued that Democrats had been pushing for simply that.

Unauthorized immigrants are additionally typically barred from buying medical insurance by the federal government exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act and receiving subsidies.

In May, a brand new federal regulation made eligible these enrolled within the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Officials estimated that about 100,000 of those migrants, so-called Dreamers who had been delivered to the United States as youngsters, may get hold of medical insurance because of the brand new rule.

Recent arrivals don’t qualify for this system, which is open to those that had been within the United States on June 15, 2012, and have resided there since no less than 2007. Nor do unauthorized migrants qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the federal government well being care applications for low-income individuals and kids, although they will obtain emergency Medicaid providers.

The Trump marketing campaign additionally pointed to a handful of states which have prolonged eligibility for presidency well being care applications, together with Medicaid, to unauthorized immigrants. But that protection is state-funded.

What Was Said

“What he signed means nothing. In truth, it makes it simpler. In my opinion, it opens the border nonetheless additional.”
Mr. Trump at a rally in Las Vegas in June

This is deceptive. Mr. Biden issued an government order in June that prevented migrants from looking for asylum on the border.

Under the order, migrants can’t ask for asylum if the seven-day common for day by day unlawful crossings reaches 2,500. The order lifts as soon as the quantity falls under 1,500 for seven days in a row. The restrictions don’t apply to unaccompanied minors, victims of human trafficking, these going through medical emergencies or legitimate visa holders.

The Center for Immigration Studies criticized the asylum exceptions and different “loopholes” within the coverage, however mentioned it “will probably drive unlawful entries down within the brief run.”

Ms. Leavitt argued, misleadingly, that the coverage “allowed” migrants to enter if the edge was not met, and that it really expanded asylum by routing them to ports of entry, referring to a smartphone app border officers have inspired migrants to make use of. But even when crossings fell under 1,500, migrants would nonetheless be apprehended and processed, and face deportation.

What Was Said

“Folks, on my first day as president, I launched a invoice I despatched to Congress: a complete plan to repair the damaged immigration system and to safe the border. But no motion was taken.”
— Mr. Biden in a speech on the border in February

“The first invoice I ever launched as a president of the United States was primarily what received handed this outing, led by the conservative Republican who they’re vilifying now for having labored out this deal.”
— Mr. Biden in a go to to a marketing campaign workplace in New Hampshire in March

This is exaggerated.

On Mr. Biden’s first day in workplace, the White House launched its framework for the “U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021” and Democrats within the House and Senate formally launched the laws a couple of month later in February. It largely targeted on making a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants and increasing authorized immigration.

The invoice did embrace border safety measures like directing the Department of Homeland Security to create a plan to deploy new applied sciences at and between ports of entry and including sources to legally course of migrants. It didn’t embrace funding to rent extra border patrol brokers or modifications to the asylum course of.

In distinction, the bipartisan border deal that Congress rejected this spring — negotiated by Senator James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma — targeted on border safety.

The laws included funding for 1,500 further Customs and Border Protection brokers and a provision that will have routinely triggered an emergency authority to extra simply expel migrants when crossings attain a sure threshold. While it expanded the variety of immigration judges and asylum officers, and awarded extra family- and employment-based visas, it additionally made it harder for migrants to assert asylum.

Angelo Hernandez, a White House spokesman, argued that each items of laws had border safety and immigration reform measures and that Mr. Biden “believes we should safe our border and repair our damaged immigration system.”

But there’s a main cut up between the 2 payments: Mr. Biden’s laws features a pathway to citizenship whereas the bipartisan invoice has a provision to close down the border.

Mr. Biden and Democrats have developed on the problem of unlawful crossings. The president has at occasions acknowledged the shift. For instance, in saying his new asylum coverage in June, Mr. Biden mentioned that whereas he was “nonetheless preventing” for complete immigration reform, “we should first safe the border.”

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