Donald Trump makes several misstatements during tour of U.S.-Mexico border in Texas


During a trip to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday, President Donald Trump twice claimed that more people are being caught illegally crossing the southern border than ever before.

"We're apprehending more people than ever apprehended before," Trump told a group of law enforcement officials and local leaders during a round-table discussion in McAllen, Texas.

"Never so many apprehensions ever in our history," he said later during a briefing from Border Patrol agents.

That's wrong.

In fact, apprehensions at the southern border are at historic lows. Border Patrol agents caught just under 400,000 people trying to illegally cross the border in 2017, and just over 300,000 in 2016. Yet from 1983 to 2006, border apprehensions topped one million 19 times, with the agency setting a record in 2000 with 1,643,679 apprehensions, according to Customs and Border Patrol data.

Trump's error was one of several he uttered during a high-profile tour of the border to push for funding for his border wall, a battle that has led to a 20-day partial government shutdown and driven him to consider declaring a national emergency to build his border wall without congressional approval.

Before he even left on his trip, Trump delivered a false statement while speaking to reporters outside the White House. He said the wall was necessary, in part, because most of the drugs that enter the U.S. come through the southern border.

"And they don't come in through the portals, they come in between the portals where you have no barrier," he said, apparently referring to ports of entry.

Customs and Border Protection statistics say the exact opposite is happening. For the first 11 months of the 2018 fiscal year, 90 percent of the heroin intercepted at the border, 88 percent of the cocaine, 87 percent of methamphetamine and 80 percent of fentanyl was captured at a legal port of entry rather than between those ports.

After arriving in McAllen, Trump defended his push for a border wall by blaming previous presidents for their alleged inaction along the southern border.

"I've seen all the speeches made by all the presidents and a lot of people that worked under the presidents and you say, 'What happened?'" he said. "Nothing happened."

That's not the case. In 2006, Congress passed the Secure Fence Act which called for building fencing along 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, and increasing the use of technology such as fixed towers and drones to help patrol the border. To date, there are nearly 705 miles of barriers built along the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports.

The president and his administration officials have repeatedly stretched the truth in recent days as they've intensified their push for border wall funding.

He made several misstatements during his televised address to the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday night. And before that, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway admitted that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders made a mistake when trying to claim how many potential terrorists were crossing the southern border.

"Everybody makes mistakes, all of us. The fact is, it's corrected here," Conway said during an appearance on Fox News on Monday.

There have been no corrections from Trump, however.

"Everybody knows that what we're saying is right," Trump said Thursday in McAllen.

Contributing: Kristen DelGuzzi, Alan Gomez and Louie Villalobos of USA Today; Josh Susong and Michael Squires of the Arizona Republic; and Zahira Torres of the El Paso Times.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump makes several misstatements during tour of U.S.-Mexico border in Texas


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