In the midst of a lengthy government shutdown, on Tuesday, January 9, 2019, Trump made his first formal address to the United States from inside the Oval Office to talk about immigration.
Prior to the speech, critics were already calling for live fact-checking of the speech, knowing that Trump is arguably the only president who consistently makes nonfactual claims when speaking in public.
Many networks did fact check the president during the speech and have now compiled fact-checking lists.
Some of the remarks were false claims that Trump has made repeatedly. For example, Trump said, “The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.”
Other remarks were ridiculous overstatements. For example, Trump claimed that “every day, Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country.”
Despite the claim, CBP data suggests that in the fiscal year of 2018, border patrol agents at the southwest border apprehended 396,579 immigrants entering the country unlawfully. This number would mean that, on average, 1,087 immigrants were apprehended each day. Therefore, “thousands” is a vast exaggeration from the barely thousand immigrants that are actually apprehended.
Many critics took issue with Trump’s claim that “all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal immigration.” Many experts claim that undocumented immigrants do not actually hurt the economy. A 2017 data analysis found that “considerable tax contributions” are made by immigrants who are undocumented, despite assumptions of the converse.
Trump also claimed that his plans for the wall had changed because of a request made by the democrats for “a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall.” Democrats have long opposed a border wall and continue to oppose a border wall, no matter the material. In the past, democrats had supported the idea of a fence at the southwest border (for example, the 2006 Secure Fence Act), but never an actual wall.
For more fact checks on Trump’s immigration address, click here.