By Alicia A. Caldwell and Josh Boak
February 14, 2017
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is patting himself on the back for immigration and job-creation initiatives that started before he took office.
A look at his statements during a news conference Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
TRUMP: “We’re actually taking people that are criminals, very, very, hardened criminals in some cases ... with a tremendous track record of abuse and problems, and we’re getting them out and that’s what I said I would do ... And I said at the beginning, we are going to get the bad ones, the really bad ones, we’re getting them out and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
THE FACTS: Officials said an operation last week that resulted in the arrest of more than 680 immigrants in various cities was a routine enforcement action like those undertaken during the administration of Barack Obama, who deported an unprecedented number of people as president.
More specifically, David Marin, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s field office director for enforcement and removal operations in greater Los Angeles, said the agency carries out such large-scale operations two or three times a year in his region. The California operation was in the planning stages “before the administration came out with their current executive orders,” he said. More than 100 of the arrests were in the Los Angeles area.
The notion that raids have been stepped up under Trump has been advanced both by the White House, to show that Trump is keeping a promise, and by advocates of those who have been targeted, to illustrate what they call the new president’s heavy-handed tactics. But statistical evidence has not come in to show that enforcement has surged under the new Trump administration or that actual deportations are up. A similar series of raids under Obama in March 2015 resulted in the arrest of more than 2,000 criminals, the government said at the time.
After the latest raids, immigration officials put out a statement saying a “rash of recent reports about purported ICE checkpoints and random sweeps are false, dangerous and irresponsible.”
And Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said: “ICE conducts these kind of targeted enforcement operations regularly and has for many years. The focus of these enforcement operations is consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis.”
Trump’s promise of a secure border was central to his campaign and he signed an executive order in his first week as president aimed at making dangerous people a priority for deportation. It’s too early to know if that is working.
TRUMP: “You probably have noticed that Ford is making billions of dollars of new investments in this country. You saw Intel, the other day, announce that because of what I’ve been doing and what I’m doing in terms of regulation, lowering taxes, et cetera, they’re coming in with billions and billions of dollars of investment and thousands and thousands of jobs. General Motors, likewise, is expanding plants and going to build new plants. Fiat Chrysler was at a meeting where they’re doing the same.”
THE FACTS: Trump is taking credit for corporate decisions that largely predate his presidential win, making it unlikely that his administration is the sole reason for the expected hiring. Several job announcements have come after companies, such as the wireless carrier Sprint, reduced their total number of employees.
In the case of Intel, construction of the Chandler, Arizona, factory referred to by Trump actually began during Barack Obama’s presidency. The project was delayed by insufficient demand for Intel’s high-powered computer chips, but the company now expects to finish the factory within four years because it anticipates business growth.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said he made his announcement about the Arizona investment at the White House in support of the president’s tax and regulatory policies, perhaps giving Trump an invitation to brag, which he quickly seized. But those policies have yet to be detailed publicly, much less enacted.
The best jobs measure for Trump’s administration will probably be the monthly employment reports from the Labor Department. They provide the unemployment rate and the total number of net jobs added or lost during each month.
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