The Administration has been pushing an urgent narrative of terrorism at the border, a national security crisis, and why we so desperately need to secure funding for a wall. But this narrative is misleading, so we’re here to set the record straight.
Equip yourself with the facts and urge Congress to implement practical and compassionate immigration reform today.
MYTH: We are facing a national security crisis at the border.
FACT: There is no evidence of a national security crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Our southern border cities and towns are among the safest places to live and thrive in the U.S. According to U.S. News & World Report, EL Paso, Texas, ranks 105 among the Best Places to Live and 11 among the Best Places to Retire. In the same ranking, McAllen is 115 among the Best Places to Live and 28 among the Best Places to Retire.
MYTH: Current levels of illegal immigration are so high that they may warrant a national emergency.
FACT: According to a recent report by Customs and Border Protection, arrests along our southern border numbered 396,579 in fiscal year 2018. That figure, which is used in the report to calculate illegal border crossings, is actually lower than the average from the previous decade (400,751). Higher rates of arrests were reported for fiscal years 2016, 2014 and 2013, during which no national emergency was declared.
MYTH: Terrorists are streaming across our southern border.
FACT: According to CBP data provided to Congress in May 2018 and reported by NBC News, only six undocumented immigrants were stopped during entry across the U.S-Mexico border suspected of being terrorists.
BACKGROUND: LIRS partners on the ground are reporting that the vast majority of individuals coming through are family units – in particular, fathers with young children. The need for immediate humanitarian aid at the border is far more urgent than security measures to prevent terrorists from entering on foot through the desert.
MYTH: Illegal immigrants are committing violent crimes and brutal murders at unprecedented rates in states bordering Mexico.
FACT: A recent study showed that undocumented immigrants commit violent crimes at lower rates than U.S. citizens. According to a report by CATO Institute: “In 2016, 746 native-born Texans, 32 illegal immigrants, and 28 legal immigrants were convicted of homicide…The illegal immigrant conviction rate for homicide was 44 percent below that of native-born Americans in 2016 in Texas.”
MYTH: There is a humanitarian crisis at the border that is putting American-born citizens at risk.
FACT: Yes there is a humanitarian crisis at the border, but it’s one that impacts migrant families and children — not Americans living near ports of entry as the President suggested. The humanitarian crisis we are facing right now at the border is due to conflicts driving families from their homes in Central America, the unprecedented backlog of asylum cases in the U.S., and the government’s inadequate care for children and families who have traveled miles and miles across the desert to plea for safety. These factors can and should be alleviated by the implementation of practical immigration reform.
MYTH: A wall is the most effective way to prevent illegal immigration.
FACT: There are a lot of reasons that a wall won’t work in preventing illegal immigration. Factors driving immigration from certain countries are desperate enough that a physical barrier is not a deterrent. Based on accounts from families LIRS has served, asylum seekers will do whatever it takes to survive. This includes scaling a wall or paying to be smuggled in a vehicle, another method of entry unaddressed by the wall.
MYTH: Funding the wall is the only way to end the government shutdown.
FACT: While Congress remains deeply divided on funding for border security, many of our elective officials are working actively on the Hill to push for a bipartisan solution that moves us towards practical and compassionate immigration reform.
BACKGROUND: There are some real concerns at the border — including the treatment of asylum seekers, recent deaths of young migrant children, and understaffed immigration courts — but a wall does not address any of them. Spending $5.7b on an ineffective, shortsighted approach to border security is simply unconscionable.
This is why it’s so important that you make your voice heard on this issue.
TAKE ACTION TODAY!