Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Thursday declared he would deport “all criminal aliens” if he is elected president as he campaigned in Selma, North Carolina.
Trump has been revving up the rhetoric with just five days to go before Tuesday’s election. Much of his campaign has been devoted to vilifying undocumented immigrants.
"We will deport all criminal aliens," he told cheering supporters at the Farm.
Trump launched his political campaign in July 2015 by saying Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” and initially pledged to deport all undocumented immigrants although he has since scaled back his deportation plan.
As he has campaigned in the swing states of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio in recent weeks, he has pushed the immigration issue.
"Thousands of Americans have been killed by illegal immigrants," Trump said last week in Springfield, Ohio, offering a series of anecdotes to back up his claim but declined to provide specifics like dates. Some of those anecdotes involved drunken driving accidents, a McLatchy review found.
PolitiFact said the vagueness of the accusation means it could be true, adding it’s akin to saying thousands of Americans have been killed by men. No national database exists tracking how many people have been killed by undocumented immigrants or their nationalities.
The Pew Research Center estimates 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants were in the United States in 2014. Half of them have children who were born here. A Boston Globe investigation found of 323 undocumented criminals released from prison from 2008 to 2012 in New England, 30 percent committed new crimes, including rape, attempted murder and child molestation.
"The rate of murder may be lower or higher than other groups, but when we are talking about people, violent crime is never zero," Steven Camarota, director of research at the think tank Center for Immigration Studies, told PolitiFact. "By the same token it cannot be thousands every year. But adding up a few years then it has to be in the ‘thousands.’ There are a lot of murders in America and there are a lot illegal immigrants, so the statement has to be true."
Studies indicate Trump is wrong when he intimates increased immigration will lead to increased violence. A study published in Taylor & Francis Online in 2012 notes the myth of the criminal immigrant has been in the forefront of political debate throughout U.S. history.