AP Fact Check: Trump falsely claims Obama support for wall
WASHINGTON (AP) — With the deceptive use of a video, President Donald Trump on Thursday heartily thanked his White House predecessor for supporting his policy at the Mexican border. Barack Obama has offered no such support; only criticism.
TRUMP: “President Obama, thank you for your great support — I have been saying this all along!” — tweet, accompanied by video of Obama speaking as president in 2014.
TRUMP: “Obama used to call it a crisis at the border, too.” — remarks before departing the White House for Texas.
THE FACTS: Obama’s remarks in the short video clip do not support Trump’s proposal for a border wall or endorse the path Trump is considering now: declaring a national emergency that might enable him to circumvent Congress and unilaterally spend money on the wall. Instead, Obama was asking Congress to approve an emergency appropriation to deal with a surge of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and youth, mostly from Central American, trying to cross the border from Mexico.
“We now have an actual humanitarian crisis on the border,” Obama said at the time, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden. He was referring specifically to the surge of minors that year.
That crisis eventually eased as the U.S. stepped up border enforcement, surveillance and resources for the waves of unaccompanied children. Now, a sharp increase in the number of families at the border, coupled with the Trump administration’s hard-line stance, is overwhelming border resources, worsening a backlog in the asylum system and leaving migrants to live in abysmal conditions on the Mexican side.
Trump, however, has been unable to convince Congress that the border poses a national security risk. He has made a series of statements falsely claiming that terrorists are pouring in from Mexico, that a wall would choke off shipments of illicit drugs, which actually come mainly through legal ports of entry, and that people who get in the country illegally commit a disproportionate share of violent crime.
Late in his presidency, Obama was repeatedly critical of Trump’s immigration stance and the wall specifically. In May 2016, for example, he said: “Suggesting that we can build an endless wall along our borders, and blame our challenges on immigrants — that doesn’t just run counter to our history as the world’s melting pot; it contradicts the evidence that our growth and our innovation and our dynamism has always been spurred by our ability to attract strivers from every corner of the globe.”