+3 votes
in General Factchecking by Genius (42.0k points)
Illegal aliens let in under Biden now outnumber populations of 15 entire states.

2 Answers

+4 votes
by Legend (6.2k points)
selected by
Best answer

This is most likely false, as according to Immigrationpolicy.org there are a total of almost 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country. Now giving the claim the benefit of the doubt and take the lowest populated state of Wyoming which has a population of 585,000 citizens and multiplied it by 15, we would get roughly 9 million people. So while this would work for less populated states, if we were to average out the population of each state across all fifty then added them up and compared it to the claim of "more immigrants that 15 states" than this would be false. With a total population of almost 330 million people, divided by 50 we would get an average of 6.6 million citizens per state, which would most certainly prove this claim false, as by almost three states in, there would be more citizens than immigrants. The claim here is skewing information based on population to claim a false narrative. 

by Genius (42.0k points)
Your fact-check addressed the claim really well and got straight to the point on why it's logically not possible (re: state populations).
by Master (4.2k points)
I like how cut and dry your fact check was, it was very easy to follow along with. Additionally your source is reliable, but possibly quote another source just to reinforce your statement.
by Apprentice (1.2k points)
I appreciate the usage of statistics as well as math to examine how someone might come to this conclusion. I would also like to add on that the original source was a tiktok which had a screenshot of a tweet by James Woods, who has no credibility as he is just an actor.
+1 vote
by Journeyman (3.2k points)

If we are to take the Federation for American Immigration Reform's estimate (presumably where this figure came from) at face value, this would be true. However, it is important to note that FAIR was founded by a white nationalist and is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white supremacist hate group. Multiple leaders of FAIR have made statements about immigrants that most would consider racist and in favor of eugenics, the practice of limiting reproduction by "undesireables." This is important to consider in evaluating a potential motive/bias in what information they publish or studies they conduct.

According to the New York Times, illegal immigration into the U.S. has substantially increased under President Biden due to changes in policy, "global migration patterns" and migrant demographics. The Times provides the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's figure of illegal immigrant apprehensions since 2021, which is about about 5.92 million. Although this would indicate an estimate of illegal immigrants at likely over 6 million, this is still significantly lower than FAIR's estimate.

If we look at FAIR's explanation of why their estimate is much higher than the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's, there are a few key weak points. FAIR includes immigrants with protections such as refugee stautus or asylum seekers, like those from Ukraine, or minors brought over illegally. They also include immigrants given parole. These statuses all have certain legal protections in the U.S., so the discrepancy in numbers is due to differences in legal opinion. 

Overall, estimating the number of undocumented, illegal immigrants is a difficult process, but I think it is safe to assume that this claim is overestimated, if not blatantly false or potentially racist. It is also important to note that FAIR makes claims as to why the U.S. government's estimates are false without providing evidence or references, like "For policy reasons, they now downplay or even entirely fail to account for undercounts and low response rates." FAIR makes this claim, but does not provide a source for it as it does for other claims in the article. Immigration is a controversial issue, so it's difficult to truly ascertain the number.

Exaggerated/ Misleading
by Genius (42.0k points)
Providing background on FAIR is important for this fact-check. Nice work!
by Master (4.2k points)
I enjoy the variety of sources you used! Very thourough.

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