Trump’s dubious claims about immigration — both legal and illegal
Trump aims to restrict both legal and illegal immigration. This week, we fact-checked claims about both types of immigration.
First, legal immigration. Trump endorsed a Senate bill that would slash legal immigration by half over a decade. Trump claimed the bill would prevent new immigrants from getting public assistance “immediately.”
But that’s misleading in several ways. There are some exceptions, but most new lawful permanent residents must live in the U.S. for at least five years before they can qualify for government assistance. Moreover, the bill itself would only apply to a small portion (about 14 percent) of new immigrants, and the exemptions would remain.
On illegal immigration, Trump claimed apprehensions along the Southwest border are down by 78 to 80 percent. He declared success, claiming illegal immigration in fact went up, not down, under previous administrations. That was thoroughly incorrect.
Border apprehensions are down, but nowhere near 80 percent. Depending on how you calculate it, the decline ranges from 8 to 53 percent. And illegal border crossings have steadily declined since their peak in 2000.