CNN fact-checks Trump immigration claims

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

Posted: Apr 6, 2018 11:53 AM
Updated: Apr 6, 2018 11:53 AM

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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 542053

Reported Deaths: 7035
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1129221671
Ramsey46808847
Dakota41281414
Anoka37372413
Washington24322273
Stearns20596216
St. Louis16440296
Scott15511116
Wright14374124
Olmsted1258796
Sherburne1026779
Carver950443
Clay765889
Rice7432101
Blue Earth679340
Kandiyohi620379
Crow Wing594086
Chisago537648
Otter Tail533173
Benton520296
Mower446532
Winona435349
Douglas433270
Goodhue431271
Nobles396648
Morrison384559
McLeod382354
Beltrami366257
Isanti362259
Polk359166
Itasca358251
Steele348914
Becker345848
Lyon342648
Carlton323352
Freeborn320129
Pine306021
Nicollet299842
Brown290639
Mille Lacs271248
Le Sueur265422
Todd265430
Cass242426
Meeker228037
Waseca226820
Martin209629
Wabasha19793
Roseau194118
Dodge16824
Renville168043
Hubbard167841
Redwood163735
Houston161814
Cottonwood151820
Fillmore15069
Pennington148519
Chippewa143736
Faribault141719
Wadena140021
Sibley132710
Aitkin127036
Kanabec125821
Watonwan12429
Rock121018
Jackson114110
Yellow Medicine108419
Pipestone107425
Murray10149
Pope9926
Swift97518
Marshall84017
Stevens79610
Lake77819
Wilkin75612
Clearwater75514
Koochiching74912
Lac qui Parle73122
Big Stone5544
Lincoln5532
Grant5388
Norman5129
Mahnomen4898
Unassigned48178
Kittson44822
Red Lake3817
Traverse3595
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Cook1440

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 355069

Reported Deaths: 5797
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk55519598
Linn20164329
Scott18724234
Black Hawk15464306
Woodbury14787219
Johnson1386780
Dubuque13033202
Dallas1082296
Pottawattamie10621160
Story1024747
Warren548486
Clinton531189
Cerro Gordo519386
Webster505991
Sioux502973
Marshall476274
Muscatine454996
Des Moines439465
Wapello4246120
Buena Vista421140
Jasper406370
Plymouth393979
Lee366755
Marion353975
Jones292055
Henry285337
Bremer278260
Carroll277850
Crawford261139
Boone256431
Benton248955
Washington247849
Dickinson238743
Mahaska223349
Jackson217142
Kossuth211461
Clay208325
Tama206371
Delaware201039
Winneshiek192633
Page189020
Buchanan187331
Cedar182623
Fayette182641
Wright178735
Hardin178642
Hamilton177049
Harrison174673
Clayton165455
Butler161834
Mills157320
Cherokee156438
Floyd154542
Lyon153541
Poweshiek152133
Madison152019
Allamakee149051
Iowa144624
Hancock142734
Winnebago135331
Grundy134732
Cass133954
Calhoun133011
Jefferson130535
Emmet127140
Shelby126637
Louisa126149
Appanoose125847
Sac125719
Mitchell125241
Union123732
Chickasaw122015
Humboldt117926
Guthrie116728
Franklin112421
Palo Alto109622
Howard102622
Unassigned10030
Montgomery99737
Clarke98023
Keokuk94430
Monroe93228
Ida88533
Adair84032
Pocahontas83021
Monona80530
Davis79824
Greene76310
Lucas74822
Osceola73816
Worth7008
Taylor65012
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