From fence opt-out clauses to free phones for immigrants, PolitiFact has tracked the rhetoric of the immigration debate — and heard plenty of falsehoods.
With a bill now heading to the House, we decided to recap PolitiFact’s top five falsehoods so far in the immigration debate.
“Reagan’s signature on the 1986 amnesty act brought about Barack Obama’s election,” King said. The Immigration Reform and Control Act resulted in permanent legal status for about 2.7 million immigrants. King argued that resulted in nearly 13 million votes for Obama, more than twice his margin of victory.
But King’s math missed the mark. Many of the newly legal residents did not become citizens, and thus never earned the right to vote. Also, King didn’t account for low rates of voter participation among Hispanics who do have that right. And most important, his estimate of family members receiving legal status for every case of amnesty under the 1986 law was wildly high. We calculated the law, instead, may have added 300,000 to 600,000 votes for Obama — and rated King’s claim False.
But he overlooked much stronger support for border security in the current legislation, including appropriation of more than $46 billion, available immediately. (The 1986 law merely authorized security spending, but didn’t appropriate it.) We rated his claim Mostly False.
He explained the bill “has a specific provision that says that Secretary (Janet) Napolitano does not have to build any fence if she chooses not to.”
We checked out that “specific provision,” and attorneys told us it actually just gives Napolitano discretion about where to build 700 miles of fence along the nearly 2,000-mile border. It doesn’t give her a choice not to build at all. We rated Sessions’ claim False.
The bill included grants aimed at helping American ranchers and others at risk of remote border violence get satellite phone service so they could be in touch with authorities. And Rubio could point to a well-documented case in which a rancher was killed on his property. We rated the claim False.