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Truth vs. Trump on Immigration

Ever since the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump has exploited unfounded fears of immigrants for political gain, declaring an "emergency" and demanding funds for a border wall. But the real threat is not from immigrants; it is from xenophobic politicians whose policies would severely weaken the economy.

WASHINGTON, DC – Webster’s Dictionary defines “emergency” as “a sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence requiring immediate action.” By that standard, US President Donald Trump’s claim that the United States faces an immigration emergency is simply not credible. Immigrants have been coming to the US since its inception, and since 2007 their net numbers have actually been falling. Because this issue is so often framed in a misleading way, it is important to get the facts straight.

To be sure, the current system is broken. There are three major concerns: the US needs to improve how it treats immigrants, it needs better ways to curb illegal immigration, and it needs to reform the visa system in order to increase benefits and reduce costs.

The Trump administration’s increasingly inhumane treatment of migrants will not fix the system. On the contrary, it has become a source of national shame. Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was unconscionable. Some 800,000 people who were brought to the US as children (at age seven, on average) are now threatened with the prospect of being forced to return to countries they hardly know.

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