October 06, 2015

Hillary Clinton says she'd be 'less harsh and aggressive' on deportations


Democrat Hillary Clinton said while in Miami last Friday that the Obama administration deported people in the country illegally "very aggressively" -- and she wouldn't do the same as president;

Clinton told Telemundo in an interview that aired late Monday that President Obama, her former boss, stressed deportations as part of a "strategy" to get Republican support in Congress for immigration legislation.

"I think we have to go back to being a much less harsh and aggressive enforcer," she said.

The Obama administration has said it prioritizes criminal deportations over law-abiding families.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the U.S. has deported fewer people over the past year than any time in the previous decade.

Here's Clinton's answer in full, from a Telemundo transcript.

The deportation laws were interpreted and enforced, you know, very aggressively during the last six and a half years, which I think his administration did in part to try to get Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform.

It was part of a strategy. I think that strategy is no longer workable. So therefore I think we have to go back to being a much less harsh and aggressive enforcer. We need to, of course, take care of felons and violent people. I mean, that goes without saying.

But I have met too many people in our country who were upright, productive people who maybe had some, you know, minor offense.  Like, you know, maybe they were arrested for speeding or they had some kind of, you know, one incident of drunk driving, something like that 25 years ago.

And they were hauled in and deported. And I've met their wives and their children. And I just don't believe in that. I think everybody is entitled to a second chance. And I don't wanna see families disrupted, families deported. I wanna see comprehensive immigration reform. And I'm gonna do everything I can as soon as I get into office to push on that.

But in the meantime, I'm not gonna be breaking up families. And I think that is one of the differences.  But I totally understand why the Obama administration felt as though they did what they did under the circumstances. But I think we've learned that the Republicans, at least the current crop, are just not acting in good faith.

September 08, 2015

Jorge Ramos: 40 percent of undocumented immigrants come by air and overstay visas

Depending on which poll you believe, between 40 and 50 percent of Americans support building a wall or fence along the border with Mexico. Jorge Ramos, a news anchor on Univision and Fusion, makes no secret of his disdain for the idea.

A few days after attracting widespread notice after being thrown out of a Donald Trump press conference while asking a question on immigration policy (he was later allowed back in), Ramos accepted an invitation to appear on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor on Sept. 2, 2015. Host Bill O’Reilly’s first question pressed him on the issue of a border wall.

O’Reilly: "You don’t want a border wall. You don’t want that. Why not?"

Ramos: "It’s a completely absurd idea. Why would you want to build a 1,900-mile wall between Mexico and the United States if almost 40 percent of all immigrants come by plane and they overstay their visas?"

Ramos is far from the first person to deploy the statistic that 40 percent of unauthorized immigrants come into the country under a legal visa and then stay beyond its expiration date. Two Republican presidential candidates, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have said the same thing. When we checked Rubio’s claim, we rated it Mostly True.

However, Ramos’ statement adds the wrinkle that these people typically arrive by plane to rebut the notion that a wall would stop unauthorized immigration. As it turns out, it's hard to prove how they travel.

See what Jon Greenberg of PunditFact found.

August 31, 2015

Donald Trump jabs Jeb Bush over immigration 'act of love' comment, without noting Bush says he'd deport criminals


Donald Trump posted an Instagram video Monday hitting Jeb Bush over his early 2014 remark calling illegal immigration an "act of love."

The video overlays Bush's words with mug shots of convicted murderers in the U.S. illegally. Intended to frighten and anger viewers, it quickly drew Twitter comparisons to George H.W. Bush's ads in the 1988 presidential campaign against Michael Dukakis over repeated criminal offender Willie Horton.

The ad fails to mention that Bush supports deporting people in the country illegally who commit serious crimes. It also indicates Trump, for all of his dismissing of Bush as a rival, still considers him a top competitor worth attacking.


Bush's campaign responded by reiterating its attack on Trump -- that he's not a real conservative -- and portraying him as soft on crime.
"Jeb Bush has a record of cracking down on violent criminals as Governor of Florida, while Donald Trump has up until it was convenient supported liberal, soft-on-crime politicians," Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said. "His immigration plan is not conservative, would violate the constitution and cost hundreds of billions of dollars, which he will likely attempt to pay for through with massive tax hikes."
Here are Bush's full "act of love" remarks: 
There are means by which we can control our border better than we have. And there should be penalties for breaking the law. But the way I look at this -- and I'm going to say this, and it'll be on tape and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally, they come to our country because their families -- the dad who loved their children -- was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime that there should be a price paid.
This post has been updated.

Hillary Clinton's misleading claim that Jeb Bush and Donald Trump hold same views on immigration

While Donald Trump and Jeb Bush have been arguing about immigration policy, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton says the competing Republican candidates actually hold the same views.

"How do Jeb Bush and Donald Trump differ on immigration? Spoiler alert: They don't," her campaign wrote in an Aug. 25th tweet.

That tweet included a campaign video released a day after Bush visited the border in McAllen, Texas.

The video shows clips of Bush and Trump saying they would repeal President Barack Obama’s actions related to immigration, expressing concerns about "anchor babies" and calling for a path to legal status, not citizenship.

"Don’t let the surface distract you," Clinton says. "Most of the other candidates are just Trump without the pizzazz or the hair."

We won’t compare the personality (or hair) of Trump and Bush, but we will fact-check Clinton’s statement that the two candidates share the same views on immigration.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida to see what we found.

August 27, 2015

Pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC goes after GOP on immigration


A new digital ad by Priorities USA, a super PAC backing Democrat Hillary Clinton, takes Donald Trump's immigration positions and tries to cast 2016 Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Scott Walker in the same light.

The 30-second spot, titled "This is the Republican Party," features Spanish-language subtitles over flips of the three Republicans talking about immigration in ways at least some Hispanic voters won't like -- including Bush using the term "anchor babies."

The ad will air online in Florida, Colorado and Nevada for at least the next week.


This post has been updated.

August 26, 2015

Chris Christie bashes Jeb Bush for...speaking Spanish?


Chris Christie, who is not bilingual, apparently doesn't think Jeb Bush should flaunt that he speaks Spanish fluently. (Or at least he shouldn't do that, and then criticize Asians.)

Fox News' Megyn Kelly asked Christie Tuesday night how Republican candidates should try to appeal to Hispanic voters without alienating their conservative base.

"By telling the truth and enforcing the law," Christie said. "I mean, the fact is that you don't need to be pandering to one way or the other. I'll tell you the way you don't do it. You don't do focus group-tested trips to the border, speak Spanish and then criticize Asians."

"He's referring to Jeb Bush, for those of you who are at work the last couple of days," Kelly added.

Bush visited McAllen, Texas, on Monday and later held a news conference in which he fielded questions in both English and Spanish. He was asked about using the term "anchor babies," which he tried to explain as referring to "fraud" by "mostly Asians" who come to the U.S. to give birth.

Christie has been struggling in the polls far behind Bush. His underdog campaign appeared pleased with the New Jersey governor's TV performance: It sent reporters video and a transcript of the exchange with Kelly, highlighting the hit on Bush.

Later in the interview, Christie noted Bush's trouble trying to clarify his "anchor baby" position, which offended both Hispanic and Asian groups.

"We don't need a candidate who's looking backwards who can't even answer a question on anchor babies," Christie said. "We need to have someone who is going to be looking forward and doing things the right way. And I'm not trying to be coy about it. The fact is that if Governor Bush cannot stand up to answer those questions with two or three tries at it, what's going to happen when he has to look at Vladimir Putin?"

Christie might not speak Spanish himself -- or find it helpful for other Republicans to do so -- but his reelection campaign in 2013 made a point of releasing at least one Spanish-language ad geared at Hispanic voters. 


This post has been updated.

Jeb Bush: 'The federal government right now does not deport criminals'

Jeb Bush says that the federal government needs to start deporting criminals.

"The federal government right now does not deport criminals," he said at a town hall in New Hampshire on Aug. 19. "I don't believe that we should take people that are here in the shadows and deport them all -- the cost of that would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, it would rip up communities -- it's not appropriate. But criminals should be deported, and right now the Obama administration is not doing that."

Bush was essentially bashing GOP frontrunner Donald Trump for his immigration plans, which include deporting millions of illegal immigrants. But is Bush correct that Obama's administration is not deporting criminals? In a word, no.

See what PolitiFact Florida found.

Donald Trump: many great scholars say 'anchor babies are not covered' by 14th Amendment

Donald Trump says his plan to roll back birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants will pass constitutional muster because "many of the great scholars say that anchor babies are not covered."

"Many of the great scholars" -- really? That comment caught our attention.

In case you need a refresher on birthright citizenship: As it stands now, any person born on U.S. soil is a citizen -- regardless of the parents’ immigration status -- because of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment. Trump has recently advocated for pulling back citizenship for illegal immigrants’ children. Some, like Trump, refer to these children as "anchor babies."

"The parents have to come in legally," Trump said, talking to reporters in New Hampshire Aug. 19. "Now we’re going to have to find out what’s going to happen from a court standpoint. But many people, many of the great scholars say that anchor babies are not covered (by the 14th Amendment). We’re going to have to find out."

Considering that about 300,000 babies are born to illegal immigrants and become citizens every year, we wondered if Trump is right to say that "many" scholars think this isn’t necessarily a constitutional right.

We won’t dig into who’s a "great" scholar, but we will look at how widespread this position is and if "many" say the 14th Amendment isn’t an impediment to Trump’s plan.

See what Lauren Carroll of PolitiFact found.

August 24, 2015

Quinnipiac poll: Most Florida voters oppose Iran deal


A new poll shows President Barack Obama remains unpopular in Florida -- as does his nuclear deal with Iran.

Obama's job approval rating is upside down 41-56 percent, according to the Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. Respondents oppose the Iran agreement by 61-25 percent but support sending U.S. ground troops to fight the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

The president's proposed federal rules to reduce pollution from coal-burning plants -- not a big issue in Florida -- won support of 69-25 percent in the poll. The survey's error margin was 3 percentage points.

Quinnipiac also polled in two other swing states, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and found that in all three places, voters oppose efforts by Republicans in Congress to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

They also support a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally (for Florida, that support was at 53 percent, with 12 percent supporting no path to citizenship and 31 percent saying the immigrants should be forced to leave).

Donald Trump's manager: 400,000 'anchor babies' born in U.S. each year

Donald Trump’s proposal to end automatic citizenship for the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants spurred a week of talk about "anchor babies," a term that some say is derogatory.

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski tried to clarify his boss' views on CNN’s State of the Union on Aug. 23, 2015.

"If you think of the term ‘anchor baby,’ which is those individuals coming to our country and having their children so their children can be U.S. citizens," Lewandowski said on Aug. 23. "There’s 400,000 of those taking place on a yearly basis. To put this in perspective, that’s equivalent of the population of Tulsa, Okla."

We wondered whether there really were 400,000 "anchor babies" born in the United States every year (and yes, that is the population size of Tulsa). Are the undocumented mothers specifically coming here to give birth in hopes of some kind of legal status?

Keep reading Linda Qiu's fact-check from PolitiFact and a fact-check from PunditFact about how many countries offer birthright citizenship.