In his prime-time speech Tuesday, President Trump declared a border crisis that’s in sharp dispute, wrongly accused Democrats of refusing to pay for border security and ignored the reality of how drugs come into the U.S. as he pitched his wall as a solution to varied ills, the Associated Press reports. Here is a fact check on several items he mentioned. The president said, “Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border. 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. Trump declared, “Democrats will not fund border security.” That’s not true. They just won’t fund it the way he wants. Democrats passed legislation the day they took control of the House that offered $1.3 billion for border security.
The president said, “Over the years thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now.” Many studies from social scientists and the libertarian Cato Institute have found that people in the U.S. illegally are less likely to commit crime than U.S. citizens, and legal immigrants are even less likely to do so. Trump said, “There is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.” While the number of families coming over the border has risen sharply, the number of border arrests is one-quarter of what it was in 2000, dropping from 1.6 million then to 400,000 in 2018.