Despite the president’s statement about the “lawless state of our southern border,” apprehensions of people trying to cross there have been in decline since 2000.
President Trump made dubious statements about immigration and drugs in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, the Washington Post reports. Here is a brief rundown: Trump said that one in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north. The White House attributes the estimate to a 2017 report by Doctors Without Borders. The statistic is derived from the experiences of 56 women and cannot necessarily be considered representative of migrant women. Trump said, “The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all Americans.” Apprehensions of people trying to cross the southern border peaked at 1.6 million in 2000 and have been in decline since, falling under 400,000 in fiscal 2018. There are far more cases of travelers overstaying their visas than southern border apprehensions.
The wall would be built inland from the border. Many of those attempting to immigrate are Central Americans seeking asylum. To petition for asylum, a person needs to be on U.S. soil under current law. Immigrants could cross the border and file a legally valid petition for asylum before reaching Trump’s wall. Trump said El Paso, Tx., had high rates of violent crime and is now one of the safest cities. The city had the third-lowest violent crime rate among 35 U.S. cities with a population over 500,000 in 2005, 2006 and 2007, before construction of a 57-mile-long fence started in mid-2008. Trump said, “Tens of thousands of innocent Americans are killed by lethal drugs that cross our border and flood into our cities, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl.” Most drugs come into the U.S., across the southern border with Mexico, but a wall might not stanch the flow, as much of these drugs are smuggled through legal ports of entry or underground tunnels.