Needs to Stop Telling This Lie About Donald Trump
I’m a Sanders
supporter — and value honesty
Trump's words on Mexicans have been misconstrued by
all sides. This liberal, Puerto Rican professor says
By Alberto A. Martinez
December 23, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" -
time to start cleaning up the mess of
misinterpretations about Donald Trump.
June, I first saw Mr. Trump announcing his candidacy
for president. What he said about
unauthorized immigrants seemed ridiculous so I
laughed. I showed the video to friends, and I
laughed again. His words were poorly chosen.
something worse happened. People interpreted Trump’s
words in the most awful and offensive ways.
In one of
my courses, at the University of Texas at Austin, I
asked my students: “What has Donald Trump said that
you found most offensive?” One student raised her
hand high: “He said that all Mexicans are rapists.”
I asked a coworker the same question. He replied:
“He said that all Mexican immigrants are rapists.”
that Trump said no such thing. This is what Trump
do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re
laughing at us, at our stupidity. […] When
Mexico sends its people they’re not sending
their best. They’re not sending you; they’re not
sending you. They’re sending people that have
lots of problems, and they’re bringing those
problems with us. They’re bringing drugs.
They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and
some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to
border guards and they tell us what we’re
well dislike Trump’s words. I did. But let’s not
make it worse. He did not say that all Mexicans are
rapists. Yet that’s what many commentators did. For
example, Politico misquoted Trump by omitting his
phrase about “good people.” They said he was
“demonizing Mexicans as rapists.” They argued that
Mexicans do not really commit more rapes in the U.S.
than whites. But that’s not what Trump claimed.
other news sources misrepresented his words in
The New York Times: “Trump’s
claim that illegal Mexican immigrants are
Magazine: “Trump’s comment that Mexican
immigrants are ‘rapists.’”
Associated Press: “Trump
called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals”
CBS News: “Trump
defends calling Mexican immigrants ‘rapists.’”
L.A. Times: “describing
Mexican immigrants as ‘rapists.’”
a speech branding Mexican immigrants as
criminals and rapists.”
Hollywood Reporter: “he
referred to Mexican immigrants as ‘rapists.’”
“He called Latino immigrants ‘criminals’ and
The Washington Post:
“He referred to Mexicans as “rapists.”
such words with Trump’s words. Which is worse?
Writers excerpted the phrase: “they’re rapists,” as
if it were about all Mexican unauthorized
immigrants, or worse, about all Mexican immigrants,
or even worst, about all Mexicans. But that’s not
what he said. That’s not what he meant. It was just
a remark about some of the criminals crossing the
for misrepresenting Trump’s words can be used
October 7, at a
Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton answered the
question: “Which enemy are you most proud of?” She
replied: “In addition to the NRA, um, the health
insurance companies, the drug companies, um, the
If you do
to her what the media did to Trump, then you should
believe that Hillary Clinton is proud to be the
enemy of 77 million citizens of Iran, plus millions
more living outside Iran, including mothers,
children, and disabled people. But that’s not what
November 6, at the
MSNBC Democratic Candidates Forum, Bernie Sanders
said: “we have to pass a constitutional amendment
that everyone in America who is 18 years old or
older is registered to vote.” He said everyone.
Someone might then write: “He proposed that everyone
who is in the U.S. should vote, everyone who is 18,
even illegal immigrants, tourists, and terrorists.”
But that’s not what he meant.
It is no
wonder that many people think the media is grossly
dishonest. No wonder Mr. Trump’s critiques of the
media make his followers cheer.
discussing crimes committed by unauthorized
immigrants. Is it true that some people who
illegally cross the border from Mexico are good?
Yes. Is it true that some others commit crimes? Yes.
Is that a problem? People disagree. Some conjecture
that unauthorized immigrants don’t commit more
crimes than U.S. citizens. But crimes by
unauthorized immigrants, even murders, would not
have happened if those individuals had not entered
Time for a
disclosure. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico.
Spanish is my first language. I voted for Obama. I
live in liberal Austin, Texas, where I work as a
tenured professor of history. I’ve never voted for a
Republican. My preferred candidate for U.S.
president would be Elizabeth Warren. Since she is
not running, my preferred candidate is Bernie
discussions about illegal immigration are ruined by
lack of data. I asked my friends, university
faculty: “How many people do you think are deported
per year in the U.S.?”
two kinds of deportations: some are caught near the
border and “returned,” others are “removed” by a
court order. Consider the border patrol agents,
personnel, the bureaucracy, the lawyers, the
resources needed to find people and deport them. How
many were deported in 2014?
One of my
friends guessed 3,000. Another guessed 10,000.
Another guessed 50,000—which would really be a lot
of people, imagine.
in fiscal year 2014, the
U.S. deported a total of 893,238 foreigners!
That’s a huge number. It includes 577,295 deported
by the Department of Homeland Security, plus 315,943
deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Among the latter, 2,802 were classified as suspected
or confirmed gang members.
the average is 1.2 million deportations per year.
highest in U.S. history was 1.86 million
foreigners deported in the year 2000. That’s
know because most criminals are not caught. Plus,
many who are accused are not convicted because of a
lack of evidence. Still, in 2014, the U.S. deported
177,960 convicted criminals. Surprisingly,
91,037 were already convicted criminals before they
even entered the U.S.
University of Texas at Austin, the football stadium
can seat 100,119 people. I have seen it full. I’ve
see more than 100,000 people at once—it’s an
incredible sight. It’s a staggering swarm of people.
I have seen them yelling all at once.
utterly astonishing to me that this stadium
would fail to seat all the convicted criminals
deported in a single year.
Mr. Trump. Did he unfairly single out Mexicans
when complaining about crimes by unauthorized
most Mexicans are good people. However, since
Mexico shares a large frontier with the U.S.,
and many Mexicans face economic hardships, most
of the reported illegal immigration into the
U.S. is from Mexico. Accordingly, in recent
76% of criminal unauthorized immigrants are
kinds of crime? It is strangely difficult to
find national statistics on homicides, sexual
assaults, and thefts, by unauthorized
immigrants. But there is relevant data for some
Texas Department of Public Safety identified
207,076 foreign aliens who were booked into
Texas county jails from October 2008 through
August 1, 2014. Their term “foreign aliens”
includes both foreigners who are in Texas
legally and foreigners who entered illegally.
They were accused of 357,884 crimes in those 70
months, including these charges: 4,413
terroristic threats, 60,973 robberies and
larcenies, 6,636 vehicle thefts, 78,682
assaults, 12,869 sexual assaults and offenses,
1,113 kidnapping, and 3,089 homicides.
includes, an average of 1,383 charges of sexual
assaults per year, in Texas alone. The real
number of rapes and sexual assaults is larger
since many victims do not report these crimes.
According to the National Crime and
Victimization Survey, 2008-2012, approximately
68% of sexual assault crimes are not
reported. So I estimate that foreigners commit
roughly 4,000 sexual assaults in Texas each
Texas, roughly 529 foreigners per year were
accused of committing murder. Plus, the FBI
36% of homicides nationwide remain unsolved.
crime rates are staggering and offensive. None
of the women and men who were killed in by
unauthorized immigrants in Texas would have died
if the murderers had not entered the U.S.
are not just words. Pause for a moment to think
about a Texas woman whose husband was murdered
one night. Think about parents who never saw
their son again because he was murdered. Think
of the thousands of families standing at the
only summarized murders and sexual assaults.
Consider drugs and drug violence. According to
the Drug Enforcement Administration, most
illegal drugs come from Mexico, including most
cocaine and heroine. Most methamphetamines also
are smuggled from Mexico. The
2015 National Drug Threat Survey finds that
methamphetamines are the drugs that most
contribute to property crimes and violent
crimes. You get the point. There are tremendous
problems of drugs, murders, and rapes caused at
the porous border.
knowing the data, it was easy to be offended by
Mr. Trump’s crude words when he announced his
candidacy. However, seeing the data above, I
understand his concerns.
what Trump said right after his words quoted
“And it only makes common sense, it only
makes common sense: they’re sending us not
the right people, and it’s coming from more
than Mexico, it’s coming from all over South
and Latin America, and it’s coming probably,
probably from the Middle East. But we don’t
know because we have no protection, and we
have no competence. We don’t know what’s
happening. And it’s gotta stop. And it’s
gotta stop fast.”
disagree about some points. Is the Mexican
government really sending criminals to the U.S.?
July 5, Trump
said: “The Mexican Government is forcing their
most unwanted people into the United States.
They are, in many cases, criminals, drug
dealers, rapists, etc.” This claim might be
false if Mexico does not intentionally send
criminals to the US. At its best, this statement
seems plausible if Trump meant that conditions
generated in Mexico by its government lead some
criminals to the U.S.
case, Trump proposes to secure the southern
border by implementing various security
measures. His most recurring proposal is to
build a wall, along areas of the border lacking
proposal has been widely criticized. Some people
construed it as a sign of racism, xenophobia,
etc. However, I can understand why many of
Trump’s followers actually cheer: “Build the
Wall! Build the Wall!”
there are the worries about murders, drugs,
crimes, and terrorism. Presently, countless many
unauthorized immigrants walk into the country,
unchecked. In fiscal year 2014, the Border
Patrol made 468,407 apprehensions along the
southwest border. By comparison, the Border
Patrol only made 18,244 apprehensions in all
point sticks in my mind. Namely this: there
already exist a long series of fences and walls
between Mexico and the U.S. These fences and
walls span parts of California, Arizona, New
Mexico, and Texas. As of early 2012, the
Department of Homeland Security had completed
652 miles of fences and walls. Trump did not
build all that. It was mandated by Congress.
Walls are common along many countries’ borders,
such as Spain, China, France, Greece,
Pakistan, Israel, etc. The border between the
U.S. and Mexico spans roughly 1,950 miles. Trump
wants a wall that will be 1,000 miles long,
including areas already covered.
trying to convince you about a wall. My point is
just that it’s neither impossible nor
ridiculous. A main reason why many border areas
have fences instead of walls is just that walls
are more expensive.
says that everyone who didn’t enter the U.S.
legally should return to their countries. “They
have to go.” We might well disagree. But his
view is closer to Immigration law. If you prefer
amnesty then lawmakers have to create a law to
that effect. Trump insists: “I want people to
come in, but they have to come in legally.”
Regardless, countless many people think that
Trump is racist against Mexicans. I suggest that
anyone who thinks that should count how many
times Trump has praised Mexicans.
unauthorized immigrants are good people. But
still, the media wrongly blamed Mr. Trump for
their own misrepresentations.
— Ph.D., 2001,
University of Minnesota) -
originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Most
recently, he is the author of
The Cult of Pythagoras (University of
Pittsburgh Press, 2012), on the evolution of myths
in the history of mathematics. He is also the author
Science Secrets: The Truth About Darwin's Finches,
Einstein's Wife, and Other Myths
(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011). And
previously, he published
Kinematics: The Lost Origins of Einstein's
Relativity (Johns Hopkins University
Press, 2009), and
Negative Math (Princeton University
Press, 2005). He has also published articles in
several journals and periodicals including
The American Journal of Physics,
Archive for History of Exact Sciences,
Physics in Perspective, The
American Mathematical Monthly,
School Science Review, Physics World,
and Studies in History and Philosophy of