As a new round of border-security negotiations in Congress begin and a newly restrictive approach to asylum applications takes effect, President Trump’s claims about the extent of the nation’s illegal-immigration problem earned four “Pinocchios” — the worst rating, signifying counterfactual “whoppers” — from the Washington Post‘s Fact Checker. Calling Trump’s tweeted claims “sloppy” and “nonsensical,” the Post identified Trump’s likely source as a televised report on the right-leaning One America News Network. But One America appears to have garbled the numbers from the sources it cites, and then Trump garbled them further.
Among the errors the Post caught: confusing the number of all foreigners in the U.S. with the estimated number of undocumented aliens, and inflating an already controversial claim of the costs of illegal immigration. After reviewing the studies and competing (but documented) claims that buttress its fact check, the Post concludes, “Once again, we have an example of the president — who probably has access to more information than any other person on Earth — latching on to dubious numbers that he saw on television.”