President Trump’s claims about immigration courts get fact-checked


Beginning with the start of his campaign, Donald Trump has presented the immigration system as corrupt, favoring immigrants over citizens, and that only he can clean it up. The country has since grown familiar with his unsubstantiated claims that immigrants lead to increased violent crimes, loss of jobs for U.S. citizens, and mass freeloading on government assistance. Undoubtedly, his message has resonated with a base eager for scapegoats, and we’ve seen the results of new administration policy corroding America’s place as a beacon of opportunity.

On May 24th, President Trump candidly spoke about several new goals, as well as proposed reforms to the immigration system. Notably, he wants to decrease the number of judges hearing immigration cases and increase security at the borders. As we know, the immigration courts are already severely backlogged by years, and thousands of immigrants are waiting for the courts to decide their fate. President Trump’s position is, rather than ease the backlog through improving the system or increasing the number of judges, to eliminate “trials” all together.

It is noteworthy that Booz Allen Hamilton, a respected consulting firm, released a report in April of 2017 finding “a chronic inability of immigration courts to keep up with the number of cases.” A Freedom of Information Act request this year revealed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is exacerbating the issue rather than taking their recommendations to improve problems. Recently, Sessions has both instituted quotas for the number of cases judges complete per day, while also adding hundreds of thousands of cases back onto their dockets. It appears that both the president and the attorney general seek to undermine immigration courts, though in seemingly contradictory ways.

Journalist Chris Cuomo of CNN fact-checked the president’s recent claims for clarification.

  • The president stated that the Democrats are at fault for the breakup of immigrant families at the border, through their refusal to “fix” the immigration system. Cuomo was unable to find any law with that intent, by Democrats or otherwise. In fact, the decision to remove children from parents at the border seems to come directly from A.G. Sessions this year, as a matter of deliberate policy to discourage and punish immigrants crossing the border. As he said just weeks ago, “If you’re smuggling a child then we’re going to prosecute you and that child will be separated from you.” Cuomo found the president’s claim to be false.
  • President Trump also spoke about how the border wall is underway, beginning in California. He stated that the funds, $1.6 billion approved by Congress earlier this year, are being used to repair and build the wall and that many people in California are happy about the construction of the wall. California Governor Jerry Brown himself has refuted that. The wall is not physically under construction and the only thing that has been done has been prototype plans. Any photos of “the wall” were simply existing border walls and fencing being repaired.

The president often uses short soundbites to get his point across to his loyal base. Clearly, the immigration system needs improving, but the immigrants themselves are not the problem. It’s an underfunded, overtaxed, and increasingly slow system. But President Trump and Attorney General Sessions’ proposals will only make things worse, for the U.S. and for immigrants, as one attempts to tie the hands of immigration judges while the other demands they do more with less.

Please see the following link for more: