AP FACT CHECK: Trump Hypes Number Of People In U.S. Illegally

President Donald Trump arrives at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, from a campaign rally in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is grossly inflating the number of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

In stressing that his administration will not allow a “catch and release” policy, Trump claims there are now 25 million to 30 million immigrants living in the country illegally because previous administrations had “released” immigrants back into the U.S. community after they had been caught crossing the border as they awaited immigration hearings.

He’s wrong. Independent estimates don’t put the number of people in the U.S. illegally at even half that amount.

A look at the claim:

TRUMP: “We’re not doing releases. What’s been happening over years is they would come in, release them, and they would never show up for their trial. And we now have 25 or 30 million people in this country illegally, because of what’s been happening over many years.” — remarks Wednesday to reporters.

THE FACTS: It’s nowhere close to 25 million to 30 million, nor has the number increased much in recent years.

The nonpartisan Pew Research Center estimates there were about 11.3 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally in 2016, the most recent data available. That number is basically unchanged from 2009.

The number of such immigrants had reached a height of 12.2 million in 2007, representing about 4 percent of the U.S. population, before declining due in part to a weakening U.S. economy.

By HOPE YEN - Nov 1. 2018 - 3:51 PM EDT
AP
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