White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Sunday continued to push the Trump administration’s false claims that terrorists pour into the U.S. across the border with Mexico. But Fox News’ Chris Wallace wasn’t having it.
Sanders had a heated exchange with the host of “Fox News Sunday” as she discussed President Donald Trump’s threat to continue the partial government shutdown if his demand for $5 billion to fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall isn’t met by Democrats.
“Let’s talk about the wall,” Wallace said. “The president talks about terrorists potentially coming across the border.”
He then showed a clip of Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen stating Friday that “over 3,000 special interest aliens” trying to enter the U.S. from the southern border had been stopped by Border Patrol agents.
“But special interest aliens are just people who have come from countries that have ever produced a terrorist, they’re not terrorists themselves,” Wallace said. He also cited State Department reports that found “no credible evidence of any terrorist coming across the border from Mexico.”
Sanders responded, “We know that roughly nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border.”
Wallace, ready to pounce, interrupted Sanders with a blistering fact-check.
“Wait wait, ’cause I know the statistic,” he said. “I didn’t know if you were going to use it, but I studied up on this. Do you know where those 4,000 people come or where they’re captured? Airports.”
“Not always but certainly a large number,” Sanders said as Wallace continued to hammer his point.
“The state department says there hasn’t been any terrorists found coming across the southern border from Mexico,” he added.
Sanders, seemingly ignoring the facts laid out before her, said terrorists enter the U.S. “by air, it’s by land, it’s by sea” and that the southern border is the country’s “most vulnerable point of entry.”
“But they’re not coming across the southern border, Sarah,” Wallace persisted. “They’re coming and they’re being stopped at airports.”
Sanders continued to dance around the facts, saying that terrorists are “coming a number of ways.”
“I’m not disagreeing with you that they’re coming through airports,” she told Wallace. “I’m saying that they come by air by land and by sea, and the more and more that our border becomes vulnerable and the less and less that we spend time and money protecting it, the more that we’re going to have an influx, not just of terrorists, but of human traffickers, drug inflow and people who are coming here to do American citizens harm.”
Trump last month claimed the government had stopped terrorists from entering the U.S. from Mexico, but Reuters reported that no evidence backed up the president’s assertion, according to four government sources.
“People are pouring into our country, including terrorists,” Trump had said. “We have terrorists. We caught 10 terrorists over the last very short period of time. Ten. These are very serious people.”
Studies show undocumented immigrants commit less crime than native-born citizens. In fact, states with more undocumented immigrants have lower crime rates than states with fewer of them.