The Truth About Tim Scott’s Extreme Immigration Record

Tim Scott is the latest Republican angling for a political stunt at the border, so let’s take a look at his MAGA record on the issue, including his fervent support of Donald Trump’s reckless policies and his willingness to use our immigration system as a political tool by telling lies about the realities at the border.

Scott said he would work with Tucker Carlson to develop plans for a mass deportation policy and threatened to name Carlson his “bye-bye ambassador.”

Scott: “I’m going to appoint Tucker Carlson as my bye-bye ambassador to figure this out. So we’re going to work together on this.”

Tucker Carlson: “Would you deport any of them? How many would you deport?” 

Scott: “I think you have to start the process of identifying where they are. … So, in order for us to achieve the goals that the really brilliant guy on the stage — I’m not talking about myself — wants us to achieve … we have to identify where they are.”

Scott was a fierce advocate for Donald Trump’s extreme MAGA immigration policies, and supported shutting down the government over border wall funding.

Bret Baier: “So just to be clear, are you for a punt into the new year if it comes to that to kind of avoid the standoff?”

Scott: “I’m going to stand with the president as it relates to funding the wall.”

Politico: “Longest shutdown in history ends after Trump relents on wall”

Scott also supported Trump’s extreme plan to shift national emergency funds to border wall construction.

Charles Payne: “Do you support the president‘s national emergency plan?” 

Scott: “One hundred percent. … We have a chance to act, and we should support our president in acting.”

While Scott was busy defending Trump’s extremism, South Carolinians lost millions in funding for a military project that was then used to fund the border wall.

The State: “Trump taking $11 million from SC military project to fund border wall”

The State: “SC misses out on millions returned to state projects raided to fund Trump border wall”

Scott has repeatedly lied about the realities at the border to score political points, including during his campaign launch in May.

PolitiFact: “Scott said, ‘There have been more illegal encounters under Biden than the previous two administrations combined.’ … Nationwide and southwest border data shows there have been fewer enforcement actions under Biden than under Trump and Obama combined. Scott’s calculation also used inconsistent metrics and cast a wider net for Biden than for the other two presidents. Given the flaws in the math, we rate this claim False.” “In his interview on NBC News after he announced his candidacy, Scott left the false impression that building a wall along the southern border and taking other steps to prevent people from illegally entering the country can ‘stop fentanyl from crossing our border.’”

“Scott is wrong to suggest that stopping people from illegally entering the country can ‘stop fentanyl from crossing our border.’ As we have written before, most drug seizures at the border occur during traffic stops at legal ports of entry. 

“‘Generally, intelligence suggests that more foreign-produced cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl flow into the country through official ports of entry (POEs) than between the ports,’ the Congressional Research Service said in a 2020 report (emphasis is in the report). ‘Seizure data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) follows this pattern as well.’”

CNN: “Scott, while discussing the need to secure America’s borders, said, ‘If you don’t control your back door, it’s not your house. And if our southern border is unsafe and insecure, it’s not our country. Hundreds of people on our terrorist watch list are crossing our borders.’ 

“Facts First: Scott is correct that US Customs and Border Protection encountered hundreds of people trying to enter the United States in fiscal year 2022 who are in the Terrorist Screening Dataset, but most of those encounters occurred at land border ports of entry on the northern border of the United States, not the southern border as Scott implied when he said it is ‘unsafe and insecure.’ In fiscal year 2022, border officials had 380 encounters with people who had records on the watchlist and tried to pass through ports of entry – 313 of those were at the northern border at a port of entry and 67 were on the southwestern border at a port of entry, according to data from USCBP.”

Washington Post: “Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell Law School, said using the phrase ‘crossing our borders’ was an exaggeration. ‘They were caught at the border, either at a port of entry or between a port of entry,’ he said. ‘So perhaps ‘caught attempting to cross the border’ would be more accurate.’”

”Scott’s line, while presumably written to be technically accurate, lacks important context. It comes in a section of his speech where he’s talking about the southern border, but the federal data he references shows more of the encounters are on the northern border. He says people on the terrorism list crossed the borders when in fact they were stopped. It’s also possible someone was wrongly included on the watch list. Scott earns Two Pinocchios.”