Fact Check: Obama’s Claims on Illegal Immigration

Alicia Caldwell and Erica Werner, Yahoo! News, November 20, 2014

President Barack Obama made some notable omissions Thursday night in his remarks about the unilateral actions he’s taking on immigration.

A look at his statements and how they compare with the facts:

OBAMA: “It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive–only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.”

THE FACTS: He’s saying, and doing, more than that. The changes also will make those covered eligible for work permits, allowing them to be employed in the country legally and compete with citizens and legal residents for better-paying jobs.



OBAMA: “Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.”

THE FACTS: Indeed, in the 2014 budget year the Border Patrol made 486,651 arrests of border crossers, among the fewest since the early 1970s. But border arrests have been on the rise since 2011.

The decline in crossings is not purely, or perhaps even primarily, due to the Obama administration. The deep economic recession early in his presidency and the shaky aftermath made the U.S. a less attractive place to come for work. The increase in arrests since 2011 also can be traced in part to the economy–as the recovery improved, more people came in search of opportunity.


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