Border wall fact check: “This is a humanitarian crisis”.
President Donald Trump made a televised plea for a border wall with Mexico, claiming that the southern border is a route for drugs and criminals and has led to a national crisis.
“Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country, and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now,” Trump said from the Oval Office. “This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.”
His Tuesday prime-time appeal for $5.7 billion for a border wall came on Day 18 of the partial government shutdown that has affected more than 800,000 federal workers. The White House and Democratic lawmakers are at an impasse over Trump’s demand for money to build the border wall he’s been promising since his 2016 campaign. Trump promised Mexico would pay for the border wall.
Here’s a roundup of what Trump said, fact-checked and with added context.
“The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great, new trade deal we have made with Mexico.”
This is uncertain. Trump recently renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement, and rebranded it as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The Trump administration has argued that revenue from the renegotiated trade deal will help pay for the border wall.
But as trade experts note, any added revenue would flow to private businesses, not the U.S. government. In the case that potential new revenue for firms leads to increased U.S. tax revenue, those funds would still need to be appropriated by Congress for a wall.
Lawmakers would have to agree to allocate that money to the border wall. But a disagreement over that is what has led to the current government shutdown.
In the past, Trump has made a more specific and often repeated false claim that Mexico will pay for the wall through the renegotiated deal. Nothing in the trade deal says the Mexican government will pay the U.S. government for the costs of the border wall. Also, the renegotiated trade deal is not in effect. It needs to clear logistical hurdles and be approved by all three countries.