Donald Trump started his presidential campaign by claiming that most immigrants from Mexico are criminals and rapists. Obviously that isn’t true.
The Trump administration isn’t going to be able to deport 2 or 3 million ‘criminal illegal immigrants’, because there simply aren’t that many people who fit the description. If it wants to deport 2 to 3 million people, it’s going to have to scoop up a lot of people who don’t already have criminal convictions.
After covering Trump for over a year, you’d think the media would know that he’s not a fan of facts. Yet Maria Sacchetti of the Boston Globe is out today with a piece backing up his outrageous figures. She writes:
A recent Homeland Security report found that 1.9 million deportable criminals are in the United States and that they pose ‘a major threat to public safety.’
The implication is clear: there are 1.9 million dangerous immigrants in this country and they’re coming to get YOU.
What Sacchetti doesn’t explain is that this is a completely made up number. It comes from a report DHS submitted to Congress when it was asking for money. It’s not based on actual DHS records. It’s an estimate based on Census data and a fifteen year-old Justice Department report. Lind explains:
ICE looked at the number of immigrants in the United States according to the 2008 American Community Survey, looked at a Department of Justice report (with data that ended in 2001) about the number of Americans who’d been in prison, and extrapolated accordingly.
When you’re asking for money, do you ever ask for too little? Do you ever undersell the need? Of course not.
The Obama Administration did receive funding for deportation after this request, and it did continue to deport people. It also refined enforcement priorities in 2014. While we don’t agree 100% with its definition of who should be a priority for deportation, this change was a vast improvement over putting a target on everyone’s back.
So in January, when Trump goes looking for 2–3 million people to deport, he’s not going to find 2–3 million dangerous people. He’s going to find a few bad people that a Clinton Administration would have also deported, and many regular people who have lived here for decades, working hard and raising families.
Remember: we know Trump is lying about immigrants because his lips are moving. Get ready for four years of that.