4 Things Trump Said About Immigration This Week That Just Don't Check Out
After a weekend of headlines about its family separation policy at the border, the Trump administration has gone into overdrive defending it. The White House has doubled down on its zero-tolerance policy, with the President tweeting out false claims to justify the family separations and, most notably, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen publicly backing the policy. Here are four things Trump said about immigration already this week that just don't stand up to the facts.
The border separation policy is just that: a policy, not a law. The policy was announced in May by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has made it no secret that he isn't a fan of most classes of immigrants. The policy is a zero-tolerance rule toward any person who is caught crossing the borders of the United States; this includes people seeking asylum, which a legal form of migration. Under Sessions, anyone crossing the border will be referred to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution, according to Vox. Normally, asylum seekers are not prosecuted and those entering without documentation, if caught, are sent to immigration courts, as Time has reported.
As Vox explains, now when an immigrant parent is put into "criminal custody," their child or children are classified as "unaccompanied minors" and "sent into the care of a totally separate government department." Because kids don't go with their parents to jail, families get separated as a result of this zero-tolerance policy.
Illegal Immigration Brings Crime
This has been a frequent line of Trump's: that illegal immigration is driving up crime rates. However, this is not the case. As reported by NPR, four recent academic studies found that "illegal immigration does not increase the prevalence of violent crime or drug and alcohol problems."
It's also been a continuous theme throughout the Trump presidency to use the victim of crimes committed by an undocumented person as a prop for anti-immigrant rhetoric, in contrast to what academics have found in their work.
Criminals Use Migrant Children As A Cover
Trump tweeted on Monday morning that children are used as a cover "by some of the worst criminals on earth [sic] as a means to enter our country."
The administration has not released any information to back up this claim. Instead, it seems that the president is using it to defend the zero-tolerance policy compared to that of previous administrations, which allowed for immigrants' release as they awaited deportation, according to The New York Post.
Crime In Germany Is "Way Up"
Only about a week after their meeting at the G7 summit in Canada, Trump took a swing at Germany and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, too, claiming on Twitter that "crime in Germany is way up" in the midst of a migration wave.
According to NBC News, in 2015, Germany welcomed 1 million asylum seekers. Sometimes, the country saw more than 10,000 people coming to Germany each day. Yet according to official numbers from the German government, that coincided with the country's "lowest number of criminal offenses since 1992." The report also found that crime rate among "non-German suspects" was falling more quickly at the time.
However, there is disagreement among German politicians as to whether Germany should continue letting in record numbers of asylum seekers and migrants.
Trump Also Blamed The Democrats On Camera
During a bizarre and impromptu Friday morning press conference (the same one where Trump called a female reporter "so obnoxious") on the White House North Lawn, Trump discussed many issues with reporters. During those free-wheeling Q&As, he also blamed Democrats — the minority party in power in Washington — for his own administration's policy.
"Is it humane to separate families from their children," a reporter asked, according to video from NBC News.
"That's the Democrats, not the Republicans," Trump responded.
When the reporter reminded Trump that the Republicans control the House, Senate and White House, the president repeated the false claim that the Democrats forced the family separation issue.
"That's the Democrat plan. The Democrats should change the plan and you wouldn't have that problem," Trump replied.