Trump's Tweet About "Illegal Aliens" Abusing Children Misrepresents The Facts

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As the government shutdown over the president's insistence on border wall funding wages on, President Donald Trump tweeted about "illegal aliens" committing more sex crimes in Texas on Saturday. But a closer look at a tweet shows the president isn't telling the entire truth as he continued to justify the need for not re-opening the government during its longest-ever shutdown.

"23% of Federal inmates are illegal immigrants. Border arrests are up 240%. In the Great State of Texas, between 2011 & 2018, there were a total of 292,000 crimes by illegal aliens, 539 murders, 32,000 assaults, 3,426 sexual assaults and 3000 weapons charges," Trump tweeted on Saturday. "Democrats come back!

The opening statistic in this tweet — "23% of Federal inmates are illegal immigrants" — isn't true, according to The New York Times. In a report about the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, the Department of Justice found that 21 percent of the 183,058 people under the custody of the Bureau of Prisons were immigrants, here both lawfully and unlawfully. The New York Times reported that 23,826 of those imprisoned are in America unlawfully, while 11,698 of those imprisoned are having their immigration status investigated.

However, that's not the only exaggeration or falsehood in the president's tweet.

Next, Trump asserted that arrests at the U.S. border have increased "240%," but declined to give a time frame for this particular statistic. Regardless, the number of border crossings have declined for two decades. The New York Times reported on Friday that 2017 saw the lowest number of "border-crossing apprehensions" since 1971.

Then, Trump's tweet moved onto Texas, the state where a portion of his proposed border wall would be built on private lands. Trump traveled to McAllen, Texas on Thursday to try to drum up support for a border wall with surrogates suggesting it was a solution to a "humanitarian crisis" at the border. In his tweet on Saturday, Trump wrote: "In the Great State of Texas, between 2011 & 2018, there were a total of 292,000 crimes by illegal aliens, 539 murders, 32,000 assaults, 3,426 sexual assaults and 3000 weapons charges."

The Times reported that while these statistics are correct, they aren't in context. A report from the Texas Department of Public Safety found that 186,000 undocumented people who were booked into jails in the state for those seven years did face 292,000 charges, but they didn't always end in convictions. The Cato Institute — a libertarian think tank — reported that in Texas the rates of convictions and arrests of undocumented immigrants are lower than for the rates of conviction and arrests of Americans. "Conviction and arrest rates for illegal immigrants were lower than those for native-born Americans. This result holds for most crimes," read the report, which was updated in August.

On Sunday, Trump followed up this tweet about crimes committed by undocumented immigrants with another tweet alleging undocumented people committed sex crimes against children in Texas. "Thousands of illegal aliens who have committed sexual crimes against children are right now in Texas prisons. Most came through our Southern Border. We can end this easily - We need a Steel Barrier or Wall. Walls Work! John Jones, Texas Department of Public Safety. @FoxNews," Trump tweeted on Sunday.

These tweets are a part of Trump's push for the border wall as the government shutdown looms. Based on Democrats' steadfast opposition to a border wall, it remains to be seen if misleading statistics will sway them.