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Fact-Checkers Pounce on Trump Address

Post calls address 'misleading and bleak'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2019 2:21 AM CST
Updated Jan 9, 2019 3:33 AM CST

(Newser) – President Trump delivered an address on the "crisis" at the US-Mexico border Tuesday night—and fact-checkers started work as soon as he got to the word "crisis." The Washington Post, which calls Trump's description of the situation "misleading and bleak," reports that while the president said there is a "growing humanitarian and security crisis" at the border, there is no new security crisis and apprehensions of people trying to cross illegally have fallen from a peak of around 1.6 million in 2000 to 400,000 in fiscal 2018. The Post notes, however, that there is indeed a growing humanitarian crisis caused by the increasing number of families with children attempting to cross the border. More:

  • "The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security." The New York Times calls this remark false, noting that while Democrats are refusing to give Trump $5.7 billion for a border wall, they have offered $1.3 billion for other border security measures.

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  • "Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl." Politico calls this statement "misleading," noting that most fentanyl sold in the US comes from China, and while most heroin in the US does come from Mexico, the vast majority of it is smuggled through existing border crossings, so a wall would not significantly improve the situation.
  • "The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico." The Post awards this claim Four Pinocchios on a scale of one to four and accuses Trump of misunderstanding the economics of trade deficits. "Congress must still appropriate the money, and the trade agreement has not been ratified," the Post adds.
  • "America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation, but all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages." The AP considers this claim dubious. Researchers have found that immigration both legal and illegal ends up delivering a boost to the economy, though Americans without high school degrees don't tend to benefit.

  • "Senator Chuck Schumer, who you will be hearing from later tonight, has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with many other Democrats." Schumer and other Democrats did indeed vote for a fence along 700 miles of border in 2006, though it was far less substantial than the barrier proposed by Trump, who has called the 2006 version a "nothing wall," the Post reports.
  • "At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall." Politico reports that congressional Democrats have not requested a steel barrier—and have said the material used in the barrier does not affect the shutdown debate.
  • The AP notes that in their rebuttal, Schumer and Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of shutting down the government and "holding workers hostage"—but "it takes two sides to shut down the government."
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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