President Donald Trump used his joint address before Congress on Tuesday evening to spew some big falsehoods about immigration, again smearing immigrants as violent criminals who are dragging down American wages.
Trump kicked off a section about his draconian immigration policies by claiming that deporting immigrants "will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone."
This simply isn't true. In a study released last year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that immigrants have "little to no negative effects on the overall wages or employment of native-born workers in the long term."
Trump also ratcheted up his portrayal of undocumented immigrants as a horde of violent criminals by promising to set up a new agency called VOICE (Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement) and by bringing people whose family members were victims of crime by undocumented immigrants to watch the speech.
But studies have disproved the notion that immigrants commit crimes at disproportionate rates.
A 2015 study by the pro-immigrant, nonprofit American Immigration Council, found that “immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime.” This holds true for both legal immigrants and the unauthorized, regardless of their country of origin or level of education, according to the study.
The president also trumpeted all the hardened criminals he's supposedly kicking out of the country under his directive for the Department of Homeland Security to step up raids on immigrant communities.
"As we speak, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak tonight and as I have promised," Trump said.
During the previous administration, President Obama had already directed immigration authorities to focus on deporting violent criminals, rather than those whose only crime is being in the country illegally, while Trump has, at turns, promised to deport all undocumented immigrants.
As The New York Times concluded: "With limited manpower and resources, that could mean a higher share of nonviolent offenders among those who are deported. Multiple studies have concluded that immigrants commit fewer crimes per capita than people born in the United States."
Those raids are also tearing families apart like Guadalupe García de Rayos' apart. Guadalupe's children Jaqueline and Angel–both of whom were in attendance at Trump's speech–watched her being dragged away in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement van earlier this month, destined for deportation back to Mexico. She had lived in the country for 21 years.