Fact Check: Trump’s prime-time speech on the government shutdown

Posted on: January 8th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Carlos Barria-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump held court front and center on Tuesday night to deliver remarks from the Oval Office in the hopes of convincing the American public and skeptical lawmakers that there is a crisis at the southern border. His goal: to secure billions of dollars in funds to build his promised “big, beautiful” wall amid a partial government shutdown that has no end in sight.

Trump has a history of making statements on immigration that are often misinformed, innaccurate, or downright unfounded.

ABC News is fact checking his latest claims:

Claim: “The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.”

There is no evidence that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement deal would pay for the wall.

The United States, Mexico, and Canada came to an agreement on the USMCA, which is essentially a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Congress still needs to approve the trade deal, which has provisions including requirements that 75 percent of auto content be made in North America and 40-45 percent of auto workers earn at least $16 per hour. It is unclear what funds, if any, would be available to pay for the wall.

Claim: “My fellow Americans, tonight I’m speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. Every day, customs and border patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country.”

Looking at the situation at the southern border by the flow of migrants alone, there is little justification to call it a “crisis” at this point in time. The numbers are clear. Total apprehensions by Customs and Border Patrol have been trending downward for the past two decades.

According to Customs and Border Patrol Data, in 2001 there were 1,643,679 apprehensions at the border, compared with 396,579 in 2018.

While apprehensions are down in great numbers along historic trends, they have increased during the president’s most recent years in office. 2018 saw roughly 92,000 more apprehensions at the southern border than 2017. In other words, they went up under his watch after a brief dip.

Overall, the numbers have been under a million since 2007, and have been hovering under 500,000 since 2010.

In fact, the lowest number of apprehensions in the past two decades came in 2017 – 303,916 – under President Trump.

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