Fact check: Donald Trump's claims on immigration policy and meeting with Mexico President

Washington: Donald Trump's attempt to clarify his immigration policy instead muddied some of the actual circumstances for people in the country illegally or for the US economy.

A look at some of his statements after a meeting with Mexico's president Wednesday and his immigration-focused night rally:

Trump on people illegally in the US: "They're treated better than our vets."

The fact: People in the country illegally do not have the right to work, vote or receive most government benefits. A modest number have been exempted from deportation because of an Obama administration action but most live under the risk of being removed from the country.

A file image of Donald Trump. AP

A file image of Donald Trump. AP

Veterans are guaranteed government health care and because almost all are citizens, the right to vote and other government benefits.

The quality of their care has been criticized by Trump and others but people in the country illegally do not have equivalent rights to health care, except for emergency treatment. Public hospitals are required to provide emergency medical care regardless of immigration status.

Trump: "When politicians talk about immigration reform they usually mean the following: Amnesty, open borders, lower wages ... It should mean improvements to our laws and policies to make life better for American citizens."

The facts: No politician of either party who supports overhauling immigration laws supports "amnesty," but the meaning of "amnesty" varies depending on who is talking.

The sweeping and bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013 was derided by opponents as amnesty, but supporters including GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida disputed that, noting numerous requirements imposed on immigrants in the country illegally along a 13-year path to citizenship, including paying penalties.

The bill proposed spending tens of billions of dollars to double the number of border patrol agents and greatly increase border security. And the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office studied the bill and projected that it would lower wages for the entire workforce slightly over the first 10 years after becoming law, but would then increase wages for the entire workforce by even more, at the same time boosting economic output and increasing the GDP.

Trump after meeting Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto: "I shared my strong view that NAFTA has been a far greater benefit to Mexico than it has been to the United States and that it must be improved upon. ... I expressed that ... we must take action to stem this tremendous outflow of jobs from our country. It's happening every day, it's getting worse and worse and worse, and we have to stop it."

The facts: The loss of manufacturing jobs is generally attributed to China, not Mexico.

Some US companies have moved jobs to Mexico — the Carrier Corp. recently decided to relocate an air conditioning factory there from Indiana. But there is little data to show that the trend is getting "worse and worse."

No reliable annual measures exist of job flows between the US and Mexico. The United States hemorrhaged manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2010, when more than 5.5 million were lost, but most economists blame the emergence of China as a manufacturing powerhouse and the increasing automation of many factories.

Recently, manufacturing has done a bit better: Since 2010, US manufacturing jobs have increased by about 900,000. And many economists credit NAFTA with helping the US auto industry by providing a cheap source of parts that otherwise might have been sourced in China. A report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research argued that imports of subsidized US agricultural products put as many as 2 million Mexican farmers out of work. And since NAFTA's implementation in 1994, Mexico has grown more slowly than many of its Latin American counterparts.


Trump: "We didn't discuss that. We didn't discuss who pays for the wall, we didn't discuss." ... "We did discuss the wall. We didn't discuss payment of the wall. That'll be for a later date."

Pena Nieto on Twitter, in Spanish: "At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall."

The facts: The facts may depend on what your definition of a discussion is. If the Mexican President opened with a comment that his country won't pay for the wall and Trump did not respond to it, that may not have been a discussion in his mind. But the subject, it seems, came up. The Trump campaign's brief statement on the meeting did not quibble with Pena Nieto's account. It said the meeting "was not a negotiation."

Updated Date: Oct 25, 2016 15:19 PM

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