In a segment that was billed as CNN’s “fact check” of Donald Trump’s anti-Hillary speech, CNN gave a demonstrably false presentation of U.S. immigration policy in an effort to undermine Trump’s factually correct statements.
The segment was remarkable in that it not only revealed CNN’s profound ignorance of federal immigration policy, but an examination of the segment’s transcript also reveals that CNN ignored and blatantly distorted what Trump had actually said.
CNN’s Tom Foreman accused Trump making a “false” statement about Hillary Clinton’s refugee policy when Trump statement was, in fact, true.
“The reality check team was very busy during all of this [speech],” Foreman said. “Trump attacked Clinton’s plan to increase the number of Syrian refugees taken into America.”
Foreman then played video footage of Trump’s speech in which Trump said, “Under her [Clinton’s] plan, we would admit hundreds of thousands of refugees from the most dangerous countries on Earth – with no way to screen who they are, what they are, what they believe, where they come from.”
Foreman then delved into his “analysis” of Trump’s statement:
He was talking about this in reference to the Syria program in context of his speech. So let’s look at the reality there. President Obama has said he’d like to get 10,000 Syrian refugees in here by the end of September this year. Yes, Hillary Clinton has talked about increasing that substantially to 65,000 people being brought in in the near term. Still, that is not hundreds of thousands of people out there. And more importantly, she has said that none of these people should come in without the most stringent screening and vetting process. Now granted there are security analysts who say it’s very hard to have an infallible system and especially hard when you talk about Syria where the civil war makes checking the backgrounds of people very, very, difficult. That said if you look at his overall claim: hundreds of thousands, no checking whatsoever, that is simply false.
However, CNN’s fact checker is incorrect for multiple reasons.
First and most glaringly, Foreman distorts Trump’s statement to change its meaning. Trump did not say that Clinton would admit hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. Rather, Trump said that under Clinton’s plan the U.S. “would admit hundreds of thousands of refugees from the most dangerous countries on Earth.” [emphasis added].
Trump made clear that these were refugees coming from multiple “countries”— i.e. plural— not just Syria.
CNN is apparently unaware that the 65,000 Syrian refugees Clinton wants to admit into the United States would be in addition to the tens of thousands of refugees the U.S. already admits each year. Thus, the additional 65,000 Syrian refugees would come on top of the roughly 33,000 refugees and asylees the U.S. already admits from the Middle East each year. Adding in Clinton’s refugee admissions from across the Muslim world, this means that under Clinton’s plan, the U.S. would admit at least 105,000 thousand refugees from the Muslim world in a single year, based on data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Foreman similarly did not seem to grasp that these refugee numbers are annual figures. If elected President, Clinton would presumably be in office for more than one year. As such, Trump is correct to say that under her plan, Clinton would admit hundreds of thousands refugees from the most dangerous countries on Earth during her presidency.
Moreover, contrary to CNN’s assertion, Clinton has made no indication that, as President, she wants to limit her proposed Syrian refugee program to one year. Plus, once Clinton’s Syrian refugees are here as green card holders, they will have the ability to bring over their family members through chain migration. If Clinton’s Syrian refugee program continues throughout her presidency, based on the minimum numbers Clinton has put forward thus far, Clinton would admit:
– 374,000 refugees/asylees from the Middle East during her first term, based on DHS data.
– 420,000 refugees/asylees from the Muslim world during her first term.
– 560,000 permanent migrants from the Middle East during her first term.
– 730,000 permanent migrants from the Muslim world during her first term.
As such, contrary to CNN’s “fact check”, Trump is correct. Clinton would import “hundreds of thousands of refugees” from dangerous regions of the world in her first term alone.
Additionally, Foreman’s assertion that Clinton will not bring in refugees unless they undergo the “most stringent screening and vetting process” similarly fails to consider the facts.
Foreman’s admission that “there are security analysts who say it’s very hard to have an infallible system” is an extreme understatement.
Foreman does not mention that these “security analysts” include President Obama’s own senior officials—such as FBI director James Comey and DNI director James Clapper.
As Chairman of the House Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee, Peter King has explained that there is, “no real way of vetting, to any extent, these refugees coming in.” King’s warning echoed that of FBI Counterterrorism Assistant Director Michael Steinbach, who last year said it is impossible to do background checks on the refugees because Syria, “a failed state, does not have any infrastructure so to speak. So all the data sets, the police, the intel services, that you would normally go to and seek that information, don’t exist.”
Moreover, as Sen. Jeff Sessions has observed, the vetting process cannot take into account post-entry radicalization, which is enabled by the importation of large numbers of people who hold anti-Western values.
Vetting means not simply keeping out people who currently have terror aspirations and already have direct ties to terror, but also keeping those out who—based on their support for Islamist ideology— would be candidates for terror, or whose children could become candidates for terror, or who hold values that are hostile to American values.
As Andrew McCarthy has explained, “jihadism thrives when it has a support system of sharia-adherent Muslims. In Europe this means – as it would mean here – enclaves of assimilation-resistant Muslims… It is patently obvious that our security challenge is not just jihadists; it is the combination of jihadists and their support network of assimilation-resistant Muslims. Indeed, even if we could vet for all the currently active jihadists, it is from the assimilation-resistance Islamic communities that future “homegrown” jihadists will emerge – and that is apart from the material and moral support jihadists get from like-minded Islamists in these communities.”
According to Pew, nearly all Muslims in Afghanistan (99%) support sharia law as official law. Between 2013 and 2014, immigration from Afghanistan increased nearly five fold.
Yet Clinton has made clear that under her immigration plan immigration from Afghanistan will either increase or remain at the same high level. Since Clinton has rejected the entire premise of taking religious beliefs into consideration as a factor for screening, Clinton’s immigration policy will not vet candidates for the likelihood of post-entry radicalization.
In its subsequent “fact check”, CNN took issue with Trump’s claim that the problems we face as a nation today arose “because we switched from a policy of Americanism – focusing on what’s good for America’s middle class – to a policy of globalism, focusing on how to make money for large corporations who can move their wealth and workers to foreign countries all to the detriment of the American worker and the American economy itself.”
CNN tried to argue that even though Trump’s statement was true, it was somehow “misleading.”
Foreman said: “The case can be made that there are policies that have enabled the offshoring of jobs that are American jobs and now are somewhere else, but Trump does not mention there though… is that many of his manufacturing companies have been part of that trend. Shipping jobs off to Asia, and to China and to Central America. He probably should have mentioned that. His claim is true, but because he left that out, it’s also a bit misleading.”
CNN’s decision to label Trump’s statement as “misleading” is bizarre. One would think that Trump’s experience of having had to compete in the real global economy makes his indictment of globalism — and his indictment of globalism’s impact on the American worker — even more credible. In much the same way that a steel executive, who is forced to shut down a steel mill due to global competition, is the most credible source to testify as to the needs of how to protect domestic steel.
Under CNN’s argument, a steel executive calling for steel protectionism is “misleading” the public if he had been unable to survive in the competitive global environment. Trump is proposing changing the rules for doing business in America so that it is no longer a race to the bottom.
The only other Trump statement CNN “fact checked” in this segment was found to be mostly true.
Trump said that the U.S. has “lost nearly one-third of our manufacturing jobs since these two Hillary-backed agreements [NAFTA and China’s entrance into the WTO] were signed.”