3 Facts That Prove Donald Trump's Immigration Ideas Are Wrong

Photo: Nati Harnik/AP Photo.
Donald Trump kicked off his presidential campaign with several incendiary comments about immigrants. With the first GOP debate on the horizon, and his polls surging, today he's trying to keep the streak alive by visiting Laredo, TX, and the nearby Mexican border. The border-patrol union he was planning on meeting with pulled out at the last moment, but that didn't stop him.

"We have a tremendous danger on the border with the illegals coming in," he said in a news conference. Then, because he's Trump, he added a few insults, calling Hillary Clinton the "worst Secretary of State" in history and saying Texas Gov. Rick Perry was doing a "terrible job."

His bombast has made him popular — but is Trump actually right? No, it turns out that his rhetoric, like his estimate of his own net worth, has some pretty serious factual problems. Here are three facts that undermine The Donald.

1. Immigrants are not supervillains perpetrating a nationwide crime wave.
Trump's big claim was "when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems....They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

This is wrong. According to information from the American Immigration Council, immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes than people born in the U.S., and they are less likely to be incarcerated. Crime rates have been falling for the past decade even as the number of undocumented migrants has exploded. Trump may have seized on the tragic death of a young woman in San Francisco, and the undocumented migrant who is charged with her killing, as an example of an immigrant menace, but data doesn't back it up.

2. Trump's life was not in danger today.
An immigrant man killed a woman in San Francisco earlier this month — and Trump jumped on the story, renewing his calls to defend the border. In the lead-up to his trip to Laredo, he joked about how he worried he'd be killed on the dangerous borderlands, saying he was putting himself in "great danger."

That murder was a tragedy — but a rare one. San Francisco is a so-called Sanctuary or Haven City, which means it doesn't honor all federal immigration laws. And yet, many sanctuary cities are among the safest in the country. An FBI report from last year similarly shows that border towns, like Laredo, are pretty safe, too.

3. Trump's stance on immigration doesn't match the country's.
Trump is running hard on immigration issues, presumably because he thinks it'll get him elected. It's hard to see how that's true — since he's pretty much out of sync with popular opinion.

Sixty percent of American voters think that immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally should be able to stay, according to a poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News. And, according to data from the Pew Research Center, more than 7 in 10 people think there should be a way for undocumented migrants to remain here. More than 40% think these immigrants should be allowed to apply for citizenship. Tossing workers and taxpayers out of the country because of resident status is not as popular as Trump would have us believe.

And he's particularly offending a big voting bloc. According to a Univision poll, some 80% of Latino voters think Trump's recent comments about immigrants are offensive.
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