Fact checking US immigration claims made on CBS

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CBS Face the Nation held a roundtable discussion on June 17, when the Trump Administration employed the policy of separating migrant children from their parents after being apprehended on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ben Domenech, a right-leaning columnist for the Federalist, said that the number of migrants nearly triples every year.

WikiTribune is fact checking the two statistics that Domench offered. Here is Domenech’s claim, lightly-edited for clarity, made on the 22:20 mark. Full transcript from Face the Nation can be found here.

Face The Nation – Jeffrey Goldberg, Ben Domenech, Eliana Johnson

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22:20 The focus on these kids, while I understand it on a media perspective, I think is ignoring what is really driving these factors. Why do we have a 200 percent year over year increase in the number of people coming across? Why do we have the biggest month to month increase between February and March that we’ve seen since 2011? The answer to that is the activity of the Mexican cartels….

Note: WikiTribune will not fact check claims that the Mexican cartel exacerbated the migrant crisis. Such claims cannot be readily deemed “true” or “false.” Report on this topic in a separate story if desired.

Claim 1: “… (the U.S.) has a 200 percent year over year increase in the number of people coming across (the southern border).”

Fact check: Mostly True. The term “year over year” indicates a specific period of time within the year. So comparing May 2018 to May 2017, there has been a roughly 200 percent increase in illegal border crossings, according to data from the Customs and Border Protection.

Fiscal year illegal border crossing. Graphic from Customs and Border Protection.

What keeps this claim from being fully “True” is that this 2oo percent increase only applies to March to May 2018. In June, when Domenech made this comment, border apprehensions dropped, reflecting only a 100 percent year over year increase.

Claim 2: “… (the U.S.) has the biggest month to month increase between February and March (2018) that we’ve seen since 2011.”

Fact check: True. This statement was originally given by Department of Homeland Security Press Secretary Tyler Houlton in April. The increase from 36,681 to 50,293 is the biggest percentage increase since 2011, (month-to-month increase indicates percentage).

Though there have been larger spikes in crossings in terms of raw numbers. In Fiscal Year 2014, border apprehensions jumped by over 15,000 people from 42,399 to 57,405. This jump was larger than 2018, though a smaller month to month increase.

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