The President's Wall Address is Likely to be Entirely Fact-Free
Most of the television networks have decided to air President Trump's plea for wall funding tonight. He will try to make the case that the border is in "crisis" and that a wall is needed to address a national emergency. The problem for the networks is that they know the President will use the opportunity to spread "disinformation" about illegal immigration and the situation at our southern border.
CNN Business, Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy: "Trump's Monday request for networks to air his speech touched on a number of debates that have been raging in journalism since his ascension to the Oval Office. Among them: Should his fact-free speeches be aired live? What kind of fact-checking methods should networks employ?"
"There has been a recent debate in journalism circles about whether networks should air Trump's words in real-time. Several media critics, for instance, told CNN last week that networks should not rush to air Trump's remarks made during pool sprays and briefings, given how much misinformation he spreads."
And the President doesn't even seem to care anymore that his lies are easy to disprove.
New York Times: "As he makes his case for building a border wall, President Trump says that his predecessors have secretly confided in him that they should have done it themselves. The only problem: All of the living presidents say that’s not true."
"Former President Jimmy Carter said on Monday that he never had such a conversation with Mr. Trump, making him the last of the veterans of the Oval Office to dispute the assertion. “I have not discussed the border wall with President Trump and do not support him on the issue,” Mr. Carter said in a statement."
On Sunday, Fox's Chris Wallace jumped on Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders when she tried to argue that terrorists were crossing into America via the border. Wallace immediately corrected Sanders, noting that the state department had found no evidence of any terrorist "coming across the southern border from Mexico.”
But, no amount of fact-checking will stop the President. His political future depends on convincing his base that the border is in crisis and that only a wall can save us from "caravans" full of "rapists" and terrorists. And his whole presidential campaign was focused on building his wall; he can't back down now.
We did an article several months ago covering many myths about illegal immigration. One of the points we covered concerned Trump's proposed wall.
Illuminate: Myth #10: A wall would stop illegal immigration because the vast majority sneak across the Mexican border.
To the extent that it was ever true [the whole ladders and tunnels problem], it is becoming less and less true because today many undocumented immigrants have simply overstayed their tourist, student, or work visas. That means that they entered the U.S. legally, but after overstaying their visa became undocumented.
Doris Meissner, former head of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and current director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program via PBS, Newshour: “People that came with visas are probably about 40 percent of that 10 to 11 million that are in the country illegally,” Meissner said."
"They are often people who came here for short-term work on properly issued visas, but their employer wanted them to stay … They are often foreign students who finished their education and decided to stay without being able to renew their visas,”...
[Updated 1/7/19] An analysis by the Center for Migration Studies (CMS), an anti-immigration think tank, found that only about one-third of recent undocumented immigrants came here via our southern border. The majority are arriving legally on some type of visa and then overstaying.
CBS: "According to CMS, about 42 percent of the 10.7 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. in 2014 — the most recent year for which data was available — were doing so on expired visas. As the southern border has hardened, that number is estimated to have risen to over half, Randy Capps, director of research for U.S. Programs at the Migration Policy Institute, said."
"The fight over a border wall is a typical issue of 'fighting the last war': ten years ago was the fight against Mexican migration to the U.S.," Capps said in a telephone interview with CBS News. "The problem isn't Mexican migration anymore. Now the immigration problem is overstayers, not border crossers."
Most of the folks that you have seen on television in the last few months, such as those in the "caravan", attempting to enter the United States via the Southern border are asylum-seekers from Honduras or Guatemala. They are legally entitled to present themselves at the border to ask for asylum. They are then taken to a detention center and interviewed by an asylum officer. Most of their asylum requests will ultimately be denied by immigration judges and they will be returned to their country of origin.
And here is a recent piece in USA Today regarding illegal immigration myths and the wall.