Rep. Steve King addresses recent quotes on white supremacy and western civilization during a town hall event in Iowa
Zachary Boyden-Holmes, DesMoines
PRIMGHAR, Ia. — U.S. Rep. Steve King didn’t face much push-back or criticism during his town hall with 4th District residents Saturday morning, but he did make several statements with debatable numbers and statistics.
We did some research into King’s claims on border security and illegal immigration. Here’s how they stack up to published research:
King’s claim: “Three out of 4 girls will get raped on their way up here.”
King said that more than 75 percent of migrant women coming from Latin American countries to the United States are raped on their journey north, and that “100 percent” are given birth control before they make the journey.
THE FACTS: 31 percent of women and 17 percent of men had been sexually abused during their transit through Mexico, according to a 2017 report from Doctors Without Borders.
King is not the only politician who has estimated higher rates of rape and sexual assault for these populations: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed the rate was around 80 percent.
The higher numbers likely come from a Fusion TV report from 2014, which claimed 80 percent of “Central American girls and women crossing Mexico en route to the United States are raped along the way” based on interviews with migrant shelter directors. The interview took place before the “caravan” controversy and did not have clear statistical backing.
There is no data or evidence that all women are given contraceptives before or while making a journey to the U.S.-Mexico border from their home countries in Central America.
King’s claim: “Four million were attempting to cross the border in a year.”
The Kiron Republican said that in the early 2000s, there could have been four million illegal immigrants coming to the southern U.S. border each year. King came to this conclusion by saying there were over one million illegal immigrants apprehended at the border and that border security officials said they had only caught 25 percent of illegal immigrants coming into the country.
THE FACTS: According to data from the U.S. Border Patrol, there were more than one million illegal immigrants in five years between 2000 and 2010.
Homeland Security data estimates border security apprehension rates reached the lowest point at 33 percent in 2003. It never fell to 25 percent, according to the data, and typically stays around 40 percent.
But a PolitiFact article notes that immigration experts say the rates at which immigrants illegally enter the country without being caught is “ultimately unobservable.”
King’s claim: “40 percent, 50 percent of the illegal aliens in America are visa overstayers”
King called on President Donald Trump to take executive action to punish people who overstay their legal visa by putting a hold on their credit cards until they leave the U.S. or inflict some other potential punishment for people who continued to stay in the country after their visa expired.
THE FACTS: A report from the Center for Migration Studies found that “two-thirds of those who arrived in 2014 did not illegally cross a border, but were admitted (after screening) on non-immigrant (temporary) visas, and then overstayed their period of admission or otherwise violated the terms of their visas.” The group concluded that the border wall Trump proposed would do nothing to curb people who enter the country legally and then overstay the terms of their entries.
In the 2017 fiscal year, about 700,000 people overstayed their visas, the Department of Homeland Security reported. In comparison, Border Patrol reported about 310,000 apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Additional coverage from the Des Moines Register:
Rep. Steve King publicly addressed Iowans for the first time since his controversial New York Times quote on white nationalism and white supremacy.
Des Moines Register
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