Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified Wednesday for several hours before the House Committee on Homeland Security.
She was called for a hearing on border security and to give information regarding President Trump’s national emergency declaration last month.
While the hearing lasted several hours, we’ve verified multiple claims made by committee chairman Bennie Thompson, ranking committee member Rep. Mike Rogers and Secretary Nielsen herself.
"The President himself admitted, there is no emergency.”
This claim is False.
Rep. Thompson adds that he’s referencing remarks the president made during his announcement of a national emergency.
But during the announcement Trump said:
“I can do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this. But I want to do it much faster.”
Thompson is using Trump saying “I didn’t need to do this,” to argue that he admitted there is no emergency. However, the president himself never said there wasn’t an emergency and has frequently claimed the opposite.
There’s no way of knowing exactly what the president’s intent or meaning was when saying those words so the claim that he admitted there is no emergency is false.
Rep. Mike Rogers
"In FY 18, CBP seized 895,011 pounds of drugs...just two milligrams of fentanyl are a fatal dose according to the DEA… 2,135 pounds of fentanyl represents represents a lethal dose for 484 million people. More than the entire population of our country.”
This claim is Verified.
The DEA does say on their site that 2 milligrams of fentanyl is a “lethal dose in most people.” The Customs and Border Protection site shows that they seized a combined 2,135 pounds of fentanyl in FY’18.
So 2,135 pounds equals roughly 968,420,000 milligrams or a fatal dose for roughly 484 million people. The U.S. census estimates a population of about 325 million.
"Contrary to what some people say, CBP actually seizes more pounds of drugs between ports of entry than at points of entry."
This claim is verified, but needs context.
CBP data for drug seizures does show a higher number of drugs seized between ports of entry, but only for marijuana. The vast quantities of marijuana that have been seized between ports of entry overshadow the fact that more of every other type of drug are typically seized at the ports of entry.
Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
“We welcome more immigrants, temporary workers and foreign travelers every year than any other nation on earth."
The claim about immigrants is verified. The claim about foreign travelers is false. The claim about temporary workers we cannot verify.
While the United Nations lacks statistics on the number of migrants entering countries annually, they do provide statistics of the raw population in each country that is immigrants.
The United States has by far the largest immigrant population, as of 2017 -- the United States has 49.8 million immigrants. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, the country with the second highest immigrant population has 12.2 million immigrants.
While about 15.3% of the American population are immigrants, that's far from the highest percentage wise. According to the Migration Policy Institute, that title goes to the United Arab Emirates, with an immigrant population that makes up 88.4% of its total population.
There aren’t any statistics for temporary workers admitted to every country worldwide, but there are statistics for foreign travelers. The World Bank says the United States welcomes the third most foreign travelers every year. While nearly 77 million visit the United States every year, nearly 82 million tour Spain and nearly 87 million travel to France.
“Each year more than one million people become lawful permanent residents of the united states.”
This claim is verified, although the exact numbers for fiscal year 2018 are still incomplete.
There have been been more than one million people becoming permanent lawful residents of the United States every year from 2014 to 2017 and every year, except one, since 2005, according to the Department of Homeland Security. More than 820,000 became permanent lawful residents of the United States in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2018. Statistics for the final quarter have yet to be published.
"Since late last year we have been seeing 50-60 thousand migrants arrive at our border each month….last month saw a 76,000 spike. This is an 80% increase over the same month last year…"
This claim is verified, but needs context.
CBP data shows that there have been at least 50,000 migrants reported at our southern border in each of the last six months.
But those numbers all include the migrants who came to legal ports of entry.
If you subtract those numbers, only four of the six months still passed 50,000 migrants.
“In one study, more than 30% of women reported sexual assault along the way and 70% of all migrants reported experiencing violence”
This claim is verified.
An article published on the website doctorswithoutborders.org reported that “68 percent of patients reported being victims of violence during their transit through Mexico” and “31 percent of women surveyed had been sexually abused during the journey.”