On my way to the farm, here’s a flying fact check of last night’s speech, and links to a couple of excellent fact checks. The Washington Post is, as always, right on target:
“The first misleading statement in President Trump’s Oval Office address Tuesday night came in the first sentence.
“Trump, addressing a national television audience from behind his desk, warned of a “security crisis at the southern border” — even though the number of people caught trying to cross illegally is near 20-year lows.”
Trump said last night that we need a wall to keep out meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Most fentanyl comes from China, not Mexico. Most cocaine is shipped through Florida. Most heroin does come from Mexico, but smuggled in vehicles crossing through legal ports of entry, with very little coming across the area in between these ports that would be “protected” by Trump’s wall. A wall would have no effect on shipments through legal ports of entry.
Trump said we need a will to keep out criminals. The crime rate for undocumented immigrants is lower than the crime rate of U.S.-born citizens. The president recited gruesome crime stories, but he could equally well tell the story of John Wayne Gacy or Charles Manson—the stories he told are no more representative of immigrants than their horror stories are of white male U.S. citizens. Every time he or his spokespersons tell scare stories about criminals or terrorists crossing the border, they are thoroughly and quickly debunked.
That’s part of the reason that all nine of the U.S. Representatives whose districts are on the southern border oppose Trump’s border wall:
“Nine congressional representatives serve the districts that line the 2,000-mile southern border. They are men, women, freshman politicians and Washington veterans. The Democrats among them span liberal ideologies, while one of them is a Republican.
“But they all have one thing in common: each is against President Donald Trump‘s border wall….
“Within [Rep. Vicente] Gonzalez’s district is McAllen, a Texas border town that Mr. Trump plans to visit during his trip to the border this week. Unlike how areas along the border have been described by other politicians, Gonzalez called McAllen one of the safest towns in the country and said it is experiencing a 33-year low in crime rates. He rejects the idea that there is a crisis at the border.
“When people talk about violence streaming across the border, it’s just nonsense,” Gonzalez said.”
Meanwhile, the shutdown drags on, wreaking very real financial violence on the men and women who patrol the border, those who work in TSA and air traffic control, and all other essential—and now unpaid—U.S. workers with families to feed and mortgages to pay.