through Eugene Kiely, Brooks Jackson, Lori Robertson, Robert Farley, D'Angelo Gore and also Jessica McDonald

Posted top top February 6, 2019


President Donald Trump’s State that the Union address included many claims that were acquainted to fact-checkers. He has actually repeated many of this assertions before:

Trump wrongly declared El Paso transformed from one of the many dangerous urban in the nation to among the the safest “immediately” after building of a border barrier. El Paso to be a fairly safe city before construction the a 57-mile-long fence began in mid-2008. And also violent crime did no drop in the prompt years after its completion.The president double referred to person trafficking to make the situation for ending illegal immigration. However, professionals told us legal ports are the usual mode of entry in the mass of the situations they address concerning foreign nationals.Trump falsely said a “strong protection wall” along mountain Diego’s border with Mexico “almost totally ended illegal crossings.” A government report claimed the fence “by itself, go not have actually a discernible impact.”The chairman urged congress to pass a border protection plan, which contains $5.7 billion because that a border wall, by citing the circulation of illicit drugs from Mexico. But drugs mainly enter the U.S. In cars and also trucks traveling v legal harbor of entry.Trump boasted the “more world are working currently than at any kind of time in our history –- 157 million.” That’s about accurate, however due to populace growth, the nation has nearly continually hit historical employment highs. Due to the fact that recovery native the great Recession, the U.S. Been setting new records virtually every month due to the fact that mid-2014.He exaggerated the variety of jobs developed under his presidency by beginning the clock in ~ his election, and also he inflated the production job gain also more.The president said, “African American, spain American and also Asian American unemployment have actually all reached their shortest levels ever recorded.” It’s true the rates have actually reached the lowest levels ever before recorded throughout the last year, however the gap in between white unemployment and the price for black and also Hispanic Americans has actually remained the same.Trump inflated the reduction in food rubber stamp recipients top top his clock by including the last few months under president Barack Obama.Trump mischaracterized brand-new York’s newly passed abortion law and also did no accurately represent Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s comments around an abortion bill in that state.Trump boasted about the U.S. Being the peak oil and also natural gas producer in the world. Those achievements, however, emerged years ago or have been meant for a long time.He also incorrectly asserted that the U.S. Was a net power exporter. America isn’t yet, however is meant to be in 2020.Trump stated that that signed regulation “so that us can ultimately terminate those who mistreat our exorbitant veterans.” but it was already feasible to fire VA employees before the Veterans work Accountability and also Whistleblower defense Act ended up being law in June 2017.Analysis

The president’s deal with on Feb. 5 had actually been delay by a main in the results of a partial government shutdown. His remarks, and the false and misleading cases we noted, mainly came to the problems of immigration and also the economy.

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Texas-Size story on El Paso

Trump wrongly claimed that El Paso reinvented from a city with among the highest possible violent crime prices to “one of the safest cities in ours country” immediately after a border barrier was erected. Actually, El Paso was a reasonably safe city before construction that a 57-mile-long fence began in mid-2008. And violent crime did no drop “immediately” after ~ a fence to be completed.

Trump: The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high prices of violent crime — one of the greatest in the entire country, and also considered among our nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, instantly upon its building, with a an effective barrier in place, El Paso is just one of the safest urban in our country.

As we wrote when Trump do a comparable claim on Jan. 14, El Paso has never to be “one of our nation’s many dangerous cities.” The city had the third lowest violent crime rate amongst 35 U.S. Cities through a population over 500,000 in 2005, 2006 and also 2007 – prior to construction of a 57-mile-long fence started in mid-2008.

Nor go violent crime autumn “immediately” ~ the fence go up. In fact, the city’s violent crime rate enhanced 5.5 percent from 2007 come 2010 — the years before and after construction of the fence, which was completed in mid-2009. Those years were no anomalies. Violent crime increased around 9.6 percent between 2006 and 2011 — 2 years prior to the fence building and construction began and two years after it was finished.

Along v the rest of the country, El Paso’s violent crime rate spiked in the early on 1990s and also has been trending downward ever before since. The city’s violent crime price dropped 62 percent indigenous its top in 1993 to 2007, a year before construction ~ above the fence began.


Human Trafficking

Trump referred twice to human trafficking as soon as making the instance for finishing illegal immigration. However, specialists say typically the situations they address concerning foreign nationals are people carried through legal ports of entry.

The president said it to be time “for the congress to display the human being that America is cursed to ending illegal immigration and also putting the ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers, and human traffickers out of business.” yet ending illegal immigrant wouldn’t finish human trafficking.

He later said the traffickers “take advantage of the broad open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle countless young girls and women right into the United States and also to market them into prostitution and also modern-day slavery.” yes sir no data ~ above how numerous are smuggled illegally across the border v Mexico for human being trafficking, professionals say.

“Yes, in some cases it does happen,” Brandon Bouchard, director the media relations for Polaris, i beg your pardon operates the National human being Trafficking Hotline, said of people being smuggled across the border. Based upon the group’s experience, however, “we think the vast bulk of people are coming through legal port of entry.” and also the statistics the group has, i m sorry come from the calls the receives through the hotline, present that labor trafficking is the largest trafficking concern for international nationals.

“When it’s job trafficking, world are recruited in your home country under false pretenses,” Bouchard told us. “They think lock coming into the U.S. Because that a job.”

The accessible data indicate most come v ports that entry. The unified Nations’ worldwide Organization on Migration has found that “nearly 80% the international person trafficking journeys cross through official border points, such together airports and land border manage points,” based upon 10 years’ worth of instances on i beg your pardon the IOM has actually assisted.

“Children are less likely to it is in trafficked through official border points: out of all the children in our sample, main border points are offered in 56% that cases,” the Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative, one IOM initiative, says.

Polaris’ data for the U.S. Come from those who call its hotline. Native January 2015 through the finish of June 2018, calls come the hotline reported an ext than 35,000 potential victims of trafficking. And also of those victims who immigration status was known (nearly 14,000), half were U.S. Citizens or legit permanent citizens and fifty percent were foreign nationals, according to Bouchard.

Martina Vandenberg, founder and also president that the Human smuggling Legal Center, told us the center searched the database the 1,435 trafficking cases since 2009 because that those involving kidnapping or smuggling charges. It uncovered 26 and also 29 cases, respectively, that likewise included those charges. “The data refute the claims Trump is making around the efficacy of a wall,” she said.

Evangeline M. Chan, director of the Immigration regulation Project at Safe Horizon, a group that assists trafficking survivors in new York City, said that trafficking “is a lot more facility and nuanced problem than most world realize.” The type of coercion used is “a lot an ext subtle” than a kidnapping-type scenario. 

Typically what Chan sees space victims who are “lured into the country with guarantees of a much better life.” castle “very often lugged to the nation legally v ports that entry and using visas and also legal documents.”

A large portion the the survivors safe Horizon assists room from southeast Asia, however the following area of beginning is Mexico and central America, she said.

San Diego wall Falsehood

Trump also said a “strong protection wall” along san Diego’s border v Mexico “almost totally ended illegal crossings.” That’s no accurate.

According to a 2009 report by the nonpartisan Congressional research Service, the U.S. Border Patrol began in 1990 to build a 14-mile fence along mountain Diego’s border with Mexico. The fence was completed in 1993, yet it could not alone protect against the circulation of world crossing the border illegally, CRS said.

“The major fence, by itself, walk not have actually a discernible impact on the flow of not authorised aliens coming throughout the border in mountain Diego,” CRS said.

In response, Border Patrol on Oct. 1, 1994, launched “Operation Gatekeeper,” i m sorry provided far-reaching manpower and other resources along the border.

CRS, march 16, 2009: Operation Gatekeeper result in far-reaching increases in the manpower and also other resources deployed to san Diego sector. Agents received additional night vision goggles, portable radios, and four-wheel drive vehicles, and also light towers and seismic sensors were deployed. According to the former INS, between October 1994 and June that 1998, mountain Diego sector observed the following increases in resources:

USBP certified dealer manpower increased by 150%;Seismic sensors deployed increased by 171%;Vehicle fleet boosted by 152%Infrared night-vision goggles enhanced from 12 to 49;Permanent lighting raised from 1 mile to 6 miles, and 100 portable bright platforms to be deployed;Helicopter fleet enhanced from 6 to 10.

In budget year 1992, border patrol apprehended 565,581 immigrant attempting to cross right into the U.S. Illegal in the 60-mile san Diego sector. Apprehensions fluctuated in the following few fiscal years (531,689 in 1993, 450,152 in 1994, 524,231 in 1995 and also 483,815 in 1996) prior to significantly dropping beginning in budget year 1997 (283,889) and also the years thereafter, according come USBP statistics. 

By fiscal year 2010, apprehensions had dropped come 68,565 and declined further to 26,290 by budget 2015.

In a video, CBP credits the decline to a strategy that consisted of “ncreased manpower, made use of intelligence, concentrated prosecutions, an innovation was advanced and tactical framework was boosted by adding fencing, all-weather roads and also stadium lighting.”

The wall surface and Drugs

In calling on congress to grant his border defense plan, which includes spending $5.7 exchange rate on a border wall, Trump said it is necessary to protect against the circulation of illegal drugs into the United says from Mexico.

Trump, Feb. 5: Tens of countless innocent americans are eliminated by lethal drugs the cross our border and also flood into our urban — consisting of meth, heroin, cocaine and also fentanyl.

However, together we have written, experts — including those in ~ his administration — say that the majority of illicit drugs from Mexico go into the U.S. In cars and also trucks traveling through legal port of entry.

That’s particularly true of deadly opioids — heroin and also fentanyl — that the president singled the end in his speech.

The 2018 national Drug risk Assessment says the Southwest border “remains the primary entry point for heroin into the unified States.”

“The bulk of the circulation is with  entering the United claims at legal port of entry, followed by tractor-trailers, wherein the heroin is co-mingled through legal goods,” the report said.

“A little percentage of all heroin seized by CBP follow me the floor border was in between Ports that Entry,” the report added.

The DEA report also said mexico cartels “most frequently smuggle the multi-kilogram lots of fentanyl covert in” privately own vehicles v the legal port of entry.

Last month, U.S. Customs and Border protection made the largest fentanyl bust in its background when a Mexican national “attempted to go into the United says through the harbor of Nogales.” Border agents discovered nearly 254 pounds of fentanyl worth about $3.5 million “concealed in ~ a unique floor compartment the a trailer the was laden with cucumbers.”

For an previously story we wrote in respectable 2017, Peter Reuter, a university of Maryland criminal justice professor who founded and directed RAND’s Drug policy Research facility from 1989 to 1993, told us he was doubtful of Trump’s repeated cases that a wall surface — or an ext accurately, building additional physical barriers — would stop drugs native coming right into the United claims from Mexico.

In enhancement to the truth that most drugs come through legal ports of entry, Reuter said that smugglers have actually a history of adapting to regulation enforcement’s attempts to protect against the flow of illegal drugs.

A hollow Employment Boast

Trump said that “more human being are working currently than at any kind of time in our background –- 157 million.” That’s roughly accurate, however it’s no such a remarkable feat when taking right into account steady populace growth.

Although trump is fond of citing this statistic, the variety of people functioning in the U.S. Has increased relatively steadily for as long therefore figures have actually been tracked by the Bureau of job Statistics.

There have been exceptions, notably throughout recessions, as soon as the variety of people employed has decreased even as the population increased. It is what happened throughout the an excellent Recession. But after the an excellent Recession finished in 2009, the number of people work in the U.S. Started rising stability (again) in early 2010, and has collection historical “records” every month due to the fact that mid-2014. So president Barack Obama could have correctly asserted that there were much more people work in the U.S. Than at any kind of time in the country’s background for 32 directly months in ~ the end of his presidency (though we might find no evidence that he ever before did).

A an ext meaningful method to take the population increase into account is come look at the labor pressure participation rate, which BLS specifies as a measure up of the number of people in the labor force as a portion of the population. The labor pressure participation rate for world ages 25 come 54 in January was 82.6 percent, follow to BLS. That’s a little more than 1 portion point higher than when Trump took office, yet it is not the highest in history. The was greater from the so late 1980s come the so late 2000s, and peaked at 84.6 percent in January 1999.

Another an excellent measure is the employment-population ratio, which is the percentage of the population that is working. Spring again at that statistic just for those ages 25 come 54, the ratio has actually been steadily climbing since 2011, and also was at 79.9 percent in January. However that’s no a document high either. That peaked at 81.9 percent in April 2000.

Later in his speech, Trump boasted, “All Americans have the right to be proud that we have much more women in the workforce than ever before.” That’s likewise not so extraordinary, given population growth. The variety of women in the workforce has set records reasonably consistently for together far back as the Bureau of labor Statistics‘ online device goes, come 1964. As with in its entirety employment, there to be a emboldened in the number of working women during the good Recession, yet the number has actually been rise steadily since late 2010, and also has again to be setting brand-new historical highs every month due to the fact that July 2013.

Job creation Exaggeration

Trump exaggeration the number of job gains on his watch.

Trump: We have created 5.3 million brand-new jobs and importantly included 600,000 new manufacturing work — other which virtually everyone claimed was impossible to do.

Actually, office of labor Statistics figures present the economy has added just under 4.9 million jobs since January 2017, once he took office — no 5.3 million. And also the economic situation added 454,000 production jobs during Trump’s tenure — not 600,000.

Trump prefaced his comment by saying he was speaking of the time “since the election,” therefore claiming credit transaction for jobs developed during the last months of Barack Obama’s time in office.

But also so, he’s method off on the manufacturing jobs. Just 481,000 have been included since November 2016. To obtain a get of 600,000 you should go back to September 2014. Trumped is claiming credit transaction for jobs produced months prior to he even announced he was to run for the White House.

Employment Context

The chairman boasted the “African American, hispanic American and also Asian American unemployment have actually all got to their lowest levels ever recorded.”

It’s true that the unemployment rates for every three teams reached the lowest ever before recorded in at the very least one month throughout the critical year, however the percentage point gap between white unemployment and also the price for black and also Hispanic Americans has remained about the same. Also, the unemployment rates for all Americans, consisting of for afri Americans, Hispanics and Asians, has been steadily dropping because late 2010 and also early 2011.

The black unemployment rate dropped come its lowest level, 5.9 percent, in might 2018, due to the fact that the BLS began measuring that in 1972. That has due to the fact that inched ago up, and also was in ~ 6.8 percent in January. The white unemployment price in January to be 3.5 percent, or 3.3 portion points lower than the black unemployment rate. As soon as Trump took office in January 2017, the black color unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, 3.4 percent points higher than the rate for whites.

The percentage suggest gap between white and Hispanic joblessness rates has additionally remained about the same. In January 2017, the hispanic rate, at 5.8 percent, to be 1.5 percentage points higher than the rate for whites, and in January, the Hispanic rate was 4.9 percent, 1.4 portion points greater than for whites.

“The declines in unemployment room tracking those that the all at once economy yet remain twin those the white workers,” Marcus Casey, a other in economic studies in ~ the Brookings Institution, told united state via email. “This has been the situation for a long time. While definitely this look at a lot better than the an excellent Recession, it’s remarkable that over this duration blacks became more educated and also skilled, yet room still can not to rest this long historical trend.”

Last year, when Trump similarly took credit for the lowest black unemployment price in U.S. History, Casey and Bradley Hardy, another Brookings fellow, wrote a paper arguing that “the unemployment price alone presents a revealing but incomplete snapshot of financial well-being within any kind of community.”

We additionally have listed that unemployment prices in general, as well as those for black and also Hispanic Americans, have been steadily declining because late 2010 and early 2011. (See chart below.)

The black unemployment rate fell 8.8 percentage points in the 7 years prior to Trump take it office, and it has continued to autumn in the 2 years under Trump. The rate was 7.7 percent in January 2017, as soon as Trump take it office. So it dropped a little less than 1 percentage suggest in the 2 years under Trump.


Food rubber stamp Inflation

Trump also inflated the palliation in food-stamp recipients.

Trump: Nearly 5 million Americans have actually been lifted turn off food stamps. 

Actually, since Trump take it office, the number has gone down 4.1 million — not 5 million. That’s together of September, the many recent month because that which figures are available. 

Once again, trump card is padding his numbers by claiming credit for points that occurred during Obama’s final months as president, ~ Trump was chosen but before he take it office.


The president’s comment on 2 state abortion bills need context.

Trump: legislator in brand-new York cheered with joy upon the passage of regulation that would allow a infant to be ripped native the mom womb moments from birth. These room living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the possibility to share your love and their desires with the world. And then, we had actually the situation of the branch of Virginia whereby he stated he would execute a infant after birth.

The brand-new York law the chairman referenced is the Reproductive wellness Act, which Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed on Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. As we’ve written in an ext detail, the regulation modifies the state’s present abortion law to expand the circumstances under i beg your pardon abortions after ~ 24 weeks room allowed.

Previously, pregnancies ~ 24 weeks might be terminated only if they were life-threatening. The brand-new law provides for two more instances in i beg your pardon abortions would be allowed: the “absence of fetal viability” or to safeguard the patient’s health.

Trump likewise alluded to statements Gov. Ralph Northam made in a radio interview following the controversial introduction of a similar abortion invoice in Virginia. In the interview, Northam, that is a physician, stated third-trimester abortion is “done in cases where there might be major deformities. There might be a fetus that’s nonviable. So in this details example, if a mummy in labor, I deserve to tell you specifically what would happen. The infant would be delivered, the infant would be retained comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and also the family members desired. And then a conversation would ensue in between the physicians and also the mother.”

Northam’s native were interpreted by some to average that the was saying infanticide. As multiple news outlets reported, Northam later clarified the he was not talking about infanticide. A spokesperson because that Northam said his comments to be “focused ~ above the tragic and also extremely rare instance in which a woman with a nonviable pregnant or major fetal abnormalities went into labor.”


Trump declared credit because that the country’s energy resources, saying, “We have unleashed a transformation in American power — the United claims is now the number one producer the oil and natural gas all over in the world.”

It’s true the America is the height producer of both oil and also natural gas. But, according to the power Information Administration, the unified States became the top organic gas producer in 2009 after ~ surpassing Russia, and also has been number one in petroleum production due to the fact that 2013.

Over the summer, the EIA announced that America’s rudely oil manufacturing exceeded Russia’s because that the first time because 1999, making that the leading producer in the world. However the boom has remained in the works for a decade, and has long been expected. As we’ve written before, the global Energy firm predicted in its 2012 human being Energy Outlook that the U.S. Would certainly take the optimal crude oil clues by 2020, thrust by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Trump additionally said the “for the an initial time in 65 years, we room a network exporter the energy.” The United says is not yet a net exporter that energy. Together of Jan. 29, the EIA predicted that the nation would export an ext energy 보다 it imports in 2020. It is soon, but it’s no a milestone that the president have the right to accurately claim.

The EIA explains that America has imported more energy than it exports due to the fact that 1953. The anticipated switch to net exporter is due to increases in crude oil, herbal gas and also natural gas tree liquids manufacturing that outstrip residential consumption.

VA Firings possible Before

Trump said that “after four decades of rejection, us passed VA Accountability therefore that us can finally terminate those that mistreat our exorbitant veterans.” however it’s not true that nothing might previously be excellent to fire VA employees.

As we’ve composed before, the bipartisan Veterans affairs Accountability and Whistleblower protection Act intends to make it easier for the VA secretary to eliminate employees by, among other things, shortening the firing process and expediting the appeals process for an elderly executives. However, employees could still be fired before that legislation came to be law.

The Office the Personnel Management keeps data on federal employment, including terminations for self-control or performance going ago to budget year 2005. The data present that, on average, the VA fired about 2,300 employees each fiscal year before Trump’s presidency. The typical is practically the same once calculated through calendar year, which lines up more closely to once presidents take office in late January. (The VA had much more than 388,000 total employees, together of June 2018, follow to OPM.)

For example, the VA terminated 3,321 people for performance and also disciplinary factors in 2017, and also 1,181, or 35.6 percent, of every those firings emerged in the 5 full months before Trump signed the legislation right into law in late June 2017.


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