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: 603966

Reported Deaths: 7611
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1248011773
Ramsey52461895
Dakota46789470
Anoka42717458
Washington27397290
Stearns22550224
St. Louis18128312
Scott17543134
Wright16403148
Olmsted13388102
Sherburne1200194
Carver1066148
Clay825592
Rice8186110
Blue Earth762343
Crow Wing681594
Kandiyohi667285
Chisago619552
Otter Tail585684
Benton582998
Goodhue483473
Douglas475381
Mower470733
Winona461151
Itasca458963
Isanti439764
McLeod429861
Morrison424462
Nobles407950
Beltrami407360
Steele397616
Polk389072
Becker386555
Lyon363853
Carlton352756
Freeborn346932
Pine335023
Nicollet331045
Mille Lacs311454
Brown307840
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Cass285832
Todd285632
Meeker263042
Waseca237823
Martin234932
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Hubbard196041
Dodge18773
Renville182446
Redwood176338
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Wadena162723
Fillmore157410
Faribault154319
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Pennington153820
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Aitkin138737
Watonwan13589
Rock128719
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Swift106918
Koochiching94917
Stevens92411
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Marshall88717
Wilkin83112
Lake83020
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Big Stone6044
Grant5938
Lincoln5843
Mahnomen5669
Norman5479
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Unassigned48093
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Cook1720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 370754

Reported Deaths: 6042
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58203638
Linn21197339
Scott20297246
Black Hawk16085312
Woodbury15232230
Johnson1461185
Dubuque13502211
Dallas1128999
Pottawattamie11219174
Story1070948
Warren583791
Clinton561493
Cerro Gordo553593
Sioux516974
Webster515294
Muscatine4878106
Marshall486576
Des Moines466970
Wapello4335122
Buena Vista426940
Jasper421072
Plymouth402981
Lee381956
Marion366076
Jones300857
Henry294237
Bremer287860
Carroll286852
Boone268534
Crawford268440
Benton259655
Washington257051
Dickinson249444
Mahaska232351
Jackson225242
Clay216627
Kossuth216166
Tama211771
Delaware210943
Winneshiek198135
Page194522
Buchanan193433
Cedar192123
Hardin187444
Fayette186543
Wright185840
Hamilton181851
Harrison179973
Clayton171057
Butler166035
Madison164619
Mills163324
Floyd163042
Cherokee159438
Lyon158841
Poweshiek157036
Allamakee152552
Hancock150134
Iowa149824
Winnebago144431
Cass139155
Calhoun138913
Grundy137133
Emmet135841
Jefferson133535
Shelby131437
Sac130820
Union129935
Louisa129649
Appanoose129049
Mitchell126643
Chickasaw124617
Franklin123323
Guthrie123132
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Palo Alto113523
Howard104922
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Clarke100924
Keokuk96432
Monroe96230
Unassigned9560
Ida91535
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Davis85225
Monona82931
Osceola78916
Greene78011
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