FACT CHECK: 3 Claims From Trump’s Oval Office Address

Aryssa Damron | Fact Check Reporter

President Donald Trump discussed immigration and what he called a “growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the southern border Tuesday in a live address to the nation from the Oval Office.

Here are three checks on his claims.

Claim 1: “Last month, 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the United States.”

It’s unclear exactly how many migrant children crossed the border illegally last month. The latest data from Customs and Border Protection shows that 5,283 unaccompanied minors were apprehended at the southern border in November 2018. There were 25,172 apprehensions for family units – defined as a family with at least one minor and one adult member. Data for December was not available.

The number of unaccompanied children apprehended increased 21 percent in fiscal year 2018, with 50,036 apprehensions. Family unit apprehensions were up 42 percent from FY 2017 levels.

Claim 2: “One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek through Mexico.”

Amnesty International reports that, according to health professionals, around 60 percent of migrant women are raped on their journey. Other outlets, including Fusion, have reported a higher rate of incidence, around 80 percent.  A lawyer for trafficked migrant women told Fusion, “I think almost all of the women are abused on the way north.”

A senior associate with the Latin America Working Group told CNN back in April that “her organization’s research with migrant shelters in Mexico and Central America has shown that about 1 in 3 women endure some kind of sexual abuse at the hands of migration agents or organized crime while transiting Mexico.”

Claim 3: “Senator Chuck Schumer … has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has supported a physical barrier along the southern border in the past, specifically a fence. In 2006, Schumer supported the Secure Fence Act. He also sponsored a 2013 comprehensive immigration bill that included $8 billion to repair and erect fencing along the border.

The Secure Fence Act authorized the construction of hundreds of miles of fencing and paved the way for more vehicle checkpoints and barriers. The act passed the Senate on a 80-19 vote and was signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2006.

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Aryssa Damron

Fact Check Reporter