Last night I flipped over to Fox News to see how the opposition is doing. Hannity had a dozen people on who were victims of hideous crimes committed by Illegal Brown People. My newspaper is – ON TARGET! How easy my life would be if – I loved Hannity! I am on the side of the people who made my life a hideous hell.
Fox News host Sean Hannity pushed back against Democrats who say President Donald Trump’s insistence on building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is nothing more than a “manufactured crisis.”
In an emotional rebuttal, Hannity pointed to a number of incidents in which Americans were killed at the hands of immigrants in the country illegally. He also cited a host of statistics to bolster the case for enhanced border security.
“I wonder if (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) would tell these families that lost their loved ones that that doesn’t really count as real data, that this is a ‘manufactured crisis,’ ” Hannity said. He went on to note that last year, “17,000 individuals with criminal records were apprehended trying to cross the border.”
The figure Hannity cited is basically correct. But it’s important to place his claim in a broader context, which is that many of these people had criminal records for previous attempts to enter the United States illegally, or other nonviolent crimes. And, a majority of these people were trying to cross at legal points of entry, so Trump’s wall wouldn’t have made a difference.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection data shows that 17,000 people with criminal records were stopped last year. That’s out of a total of more than 566,000 people apprehended between ports of entries, stopped from coming in at ports of entries and other enforcement actions, or 3 percent.
Border security officials are able to determine a non-U.S. person’s criminal history by running their records against CBP’s database of conviction information.
Those who register a hit on the system are deemed “criminal aliens.” CBP defines such persons as having been “convicted of crime, whether in the United States or abroad” — so long as the conviction in a foreign court also constitutes a crime under U.S. criminal law.
Current data covers fiscal year 2018, except for the final month of September. (The CBP website won’t be refreshed while the government is shut down.) So the final 2018 number is likely to be higher than the current 17,000 figure.
Hannity often uses his platform to bring attention to cases where illegal immigrants committed crimes against Americans. So his viewers might assume that violent criminals sneaking across the border make up a large share of illegal immigrants.
Certainly some fit this profile. But the vast majority — around 63 percent — of the 17,000 criminal aliens did not try to evade border authorities. Rather, they were stopped after arriving at ports of entry. It’s worth noting that in these cases a border wall would have been of no consequence.
The other 37 percent of criminal aliens were nabbed by U.S. Border Patrol. Among this subset, violent offenders made up a small share. Nearly half of the convictions were due to previous attempts to enter the United States illegally. Of the other named crimes, drug offenses and driving under the influence made up the next largest proportions. (CBP states only that “Other” includes any conviction not included in the categories above.)
Four years ago, then-Gov. Rick Perry misrepresented state-posted numbers and inaccurately claimed that thousands of Texas murders had lately been committed by unauthorized immigrants.
More recently, Fox News commentator Sean Hannity drew our attention when he dipped into the same pool of figures on his March 7, 2018 program, saying to a guest: “I went down to the border–I’ll give you facts–because I was on horseback, all-terrain vehicle, I was in helicopters, I was in boats and I sat through a security briefing in Texas with Rick Perry — 642,000 crimes committed by illegal immigrants against Texans alone.
“Here’s my question: Putting all those issues aside,” Hannity said, “those that commit crimes in America, including some violent crimes, even murder, those criminal aliens, do you support having them removed from this country?”
“Absolutely, I have no problem with that,” news broadcaster Jorge Ramos replied. “I’m not here to defend real criminals.”
Hannity then showed a video clip from a July 2014 Texas presentation on 642,000 “criminal offenses” committed by “criminal immigrants” that Hannity saw alongside Perry during a visit to McAllen on the Texas-Mexico border.
Hannity said next to Ramos: “Are you literally saying to me that they’re lying? Because they’re not.” Hannity subsequently asked: “You sound like you don’t care about the Americans who are victims of crime. … You’re not answering my question; 642,000 crimes committed against Texans alone in a seven-year period; that’s not your family, Jorge. Where’s your sympathy for those victims of crime and why shouldn’t we take those that are committing crimes and get rid of them tomorrow?” Hannity closed the segment by asking Ramos to come to Texas for a program devoted to the 642,000 crime victims.
We decided to fact-check Hannity’s claim that criminal immigrants committed 642,000 crimes against Texans in recent years.