FACT CHECK: Trump Lies To Justify His Ineffective Border Wall
February 11, 2019
As predicted, Trump lied repeatedly at his El Paso, Texas rally tonight to justify his ineffective, unnecessary and unwanted border wall. Here’s the truth:
TRUMP’S LIE: “I spoke to people that have been here a long time. They said when that wall went up, it’s a whole different ballgame. Is that a correct statement? Whole different ballgame…and I don’t care whether the mayor is a Republican or a Democrat, they’re full of crap when they say it hasn’t made a big difference.”
FACT: Numerous metrics rated El Paso as one of the country’s safest cities for the past 20 years.
Washington Post: “For the past 20 years, a number of published ratings have listed El Paso as one of the nation’s safest cities, and FBI statistics show that, like most major U.S. cities, El Paso’s crime rate has been dropping since the mid-1990s.”
NBC News: “El Paso does currently enjoy a relatively low rate of crime: There were 19 murders and 1,819 aggravated assaults in the city in 2017, according to FBI crime data. The city’s murder rate is about half that of the national average, and a fraction of more dangerous cities. In the similarly sized city of Detroit, there were 267 murders and 10,193 aggravated assaults, for instance.”
FACT: Violent crime in El Paso actually increased following the construction of a border barrier.
NBC News: “Violent crime has been dropping in El Paso since its modern-day peak in 1993 and was at historic lows before a fence was authorized by Congress in 2006. Violent crime actually ticked up during the border fence’s construction and after its completion, according to police data collected by the FBI.”
TRUMP’S LIE: “Walls work. Actually, there’s nothing like them for what we’re talking about. We want to stop drugs, we want to stop traffickers, we want to stop criminals from coming in. Walls save lives. Walls save tremendous numbers of lives.”
FACT: Border patrol agents said a wall would not prevent the formation of underground tunnels used for smuggling operations.
NBC News: “While standing 70 feet underground in the Galvez smuggling tunnel between Tijuana and San Diego, Border Patrol agent Lance Lenoir told NBC News last year that border fencing will not stop drug smugglers. ‘As long as they get from point A to point B in secret, they’re going to do it,’ Lenoir said. ‘They’re always tunneling somewhere.’”
Associated Press: “Critics say the ‘water-balloon effect’ — build a wall in one spot and migrants will find an opening elsewhere — undermines Trump’s argument, though proponents say it only demonstrates that walls should be extended.”
FACT: Experts said a border wall would not prevent the flow of illicit drugs.
Associated Press: “The Drug Enforcement Administration says ‘only a small percentage’ of heroin seized by U.S. authorities comes across on territory between ports of entry. The same is true of drugs generally. In a 2018 report , the agency said the most common trafficking technique by transnational criminal organizations is to hide drugs in passenger vehicles or tractor-trailers as they drive into the U.S. though entry ports, where they are stopped and subject to inspection. They also employ buses, cargo trains and tunnels, the report says, citing other smuggling methods that also would not be choked off by a border wall.”
FACT: Experts said a border wall was not an effective method to stop human trafficking.
Associated Press: “THE FACTS: His administration has not supplied evidence that women and girls are smuggled by the ‘thousands’ across remote areas of the border for these purposes. What has been established is nearly 80 percent of international trafficking victims cross through legal ports of entry, a flow that would not be stopped by a border wall.”
Washington Post: “But the women she has represented have never talked about being tied up with tape, she said, noting that a border wall would not have saved them from traffickers. ‘It’s clear that he just doesn’t have an understanding of what happens at the border,’ Yang said.”
FACT: Trump’s own top intelligence officials said a border wall was not necessary to protect national security.
New York Times: “Perhaps the strongest rebuke of Mr. Trump’s security priorities comes in what is missing from the report: Any rationale for building a wall along the southwest border, which Mr. Trump has advertised as among the most critical security threats facing the United States. The first mention of Mexico and drug cartels comes on page 18 of the 42-page assessment, well after a range of other, more pressing threats are reviewed.”
TRUMP’S LIE: “You really mean finish that wall because we’ve built a lot of it.”
FACT: Congress has not passed any appropriations for construction of a border wall.
NPR News: “Despite Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, lawmakers have not approved such funding. In 2017, the president managed to secure about $1.6 billion for border protection projects, but they are primarily for fortifying existing border fencing, not expanding the current wall. That appropriation by Congress did not authorize using the money for the border wall prototypes Trump has promoted.”
FACT: The Trump administration announced multiple wall replacement or refurbishment projects, but has not constructed new barriers.
NPR News: “The other locales Trump mentioned do have many miles of existing fencing that is being replaced or strengthened. To date, the fencing is a hodge-podge of projects covering about 650 miles. In November, the government announced a $324 million contract for 32 miles of ‘primary pedestrian replacement wall’ in Arizona. A 20-mile border wall replacement project in Santa Teresa, N.M., was announced in April 2018. The cost is reported to be $73.3 million. A 6-mile ‘levee wall system’ is set for construction in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley beginning in February 2019. It will cost $145 million. A 14-mile ‘border wall construction project’ along the border in San Diego was announced in June 2018. The project actually will replace an ‘eight-to-10 foot high scrap metal wall with an 18-to-30 foot bollard-style wall topped off with an anti-climbing plate.’ The cost will be $147 million.”