Donald Trump likes to dispute facts and figures, even when they are well accepted. At his Immigration speech this week he addressed the difficulty in knowing the number of illegal immigrants in the US by wildly inflating and deflating the actual number, throwing doubt upon very credible data from the Department of Homeland Security.
“The truth is, the central issue is not the needs of the 11 million illegal immigrants or however many there may be — and honestly we’ve been hearing that number for years. It’s always 11 million. Our government has no idea. It could be 3 million. It could be 30 million. They have no idea what the number is,” Trump told the crowd Wednesday in Phoenix.
The government actually does have a pretty good idea of the number of illegal immigrants, and that pretty good idea is around 11.4 million as of 2012. Trump really has been hearing that number for years, as that was the last time the estimate was made by the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, that number is probably high, as the number of illegal immigrants has been falling in recent years. Pew Research put the number at 11.3 million and the Center for Migration Studies put the number at 11 million while even the conservative Center for Immigration Studies estimates 11-12 million. All pretty close to the “official” number.
Trump has provided no evidence to back up his wild claim that there are 30 million illegal immigrants in the US. That would mean about 1 in 12 men, women and children in the US are illegal immigrants, an absurd and baseless claim. It’s possible that Trump saw the number in Ann Coulter’s book Adios America, where she basically makes up a number based on speculation about money sent to Mexico be a tiny sample set in New Jersey. That seems like a much more legit way for our President to be informed, rather than the Department of Homeland Security and Pew Research.