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Fact check: Trump exaggerates the impacts of illegal immigration

“By finally enforcing our immigration laws we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions and billions of dollars and make our communities safer for everyone.”

THE FACT CHECKER | Trump exaggerates the impact of illegal immigration on crime, taxpayer money and jobs.

Extensive research shows noncitizens are not more prone to criminality than U.S.-born citizens. The vast majority of unauthorized immigrants are not criminal aliens or aggravated felons.

Trump appears to reference the cost of illegal immigration from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which supports lower levels of legal and illegal immigration. According to the group, the annual cost of illegal immigration at the federal, state and local level were about $113 billion as of 2013.

But this calculation makes assumptions that are not necessarily tied to illegal immigration, like enrollment in limited English proficiency classes. The enrollment number doesn’t tell you anything about the actual citizenship status of students (i.e., they could be native-born children of undocumented immigrants, raised in a non-English-speaking home).

In general, economists have found that immigration overall results in a net positive to the U.S. economy and to overall workers. There are slight negative effects, but they are felt most strongly by less-educated and low-skilled workers. Illegal immigration, in particular, tends to affect less-educated and low-skilled American workers the most, which disproportionately comprises black men and recently arrived low-educated legal immigrants.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 2010 report found that illegal immigration has tended to depress wages and employment particularly for black men. But factors other than illegal immigration contribute to black unemployment, the report found, including the high school dropout rate and low job-retention rates.

Real-time fact-checking and analysis of Trump’s address to Congress
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress as Vice President Mike Pence (L) and House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R) (R-WI) look on on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress focused on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump is headed to the Capitol tonight to deliver his first speech as president to a joint session of Congress. The speech is expected to outline budget goals and priorities.

The speech is scheduled to start at 9 p.m.; you can watch coverage starting at 8:45 p.m. here.

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