Here’s a look at some of the claims made by President Donald Trump in a speech to the nation Tuesday night, and a follow up claim made by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as well.
CLAIM: 300 U.S. citizens die weekly from Heroin and 90 percent of it floods across the southern border.
On Tuesday, Trump said, “Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90% of which floods across from our southern border.”
That claim is VERIFIED as true.
CDC numbers show that 15,000 people die each year from heroin, which is about 327 deaths a week.
A report from the Drug Enforcement Agency said “heroin from Mexico accounted for 93 percent (by weight) of the heroin analyzed through the HSP.”
A separate statement by then Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement in 2017 said: “My estimate is that between 90 and 94 percent of all heroin consumed in the United States comes from Mexico.”
So this claim is VERIFIED, however, with one exception. Most of that heroin came in through legal ports of entry - not the open border. A 2018 DEA report says only a “small percentage” of all heroin was seized by border patrol.
CLAIM: There are more drug-related deaths in the U.S. than those killed in the Vietnam War.
During Tuesday's address, the president said, “More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam war.”
While we can’t verify the future, we can VERIFY that in 2017, the most recent year for CDC records, there were more drug overdose deaths than people killed in the Vietnam War.
They show 70,237 overdose deaths that year, while 58,220 people died in the Vietnam War.
This claim is VERIFIED.
CLAIM: In the last two years, ICE officers made more than 260,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records.
This claim has had a few varying numbers appear, but given a margin of error or differing ways of calculating the total - it is true.
President Trump specifically said, “In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records.”
In 2017 and 2018, ICE officers did arrest 250-300,000 aliens that they deemed as “criminal.”
A point of clarification is that the ICE databases also include non-violent crimes, which includes illegal entry.
CLAIM: One in three women are sexually assaulted on trek through Mexico
The exact quote from President Trump was, “One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.”
We can VERIFY this claim is true.
Doctor Without Borders published a study backing up the claim. They say that "nearly one-third of the women surveyed had been sexually abused during their journey.”
CLAIM FROM SPEAKER PELOSI: House sent a bill to the president to end the government shutdown on first day.
In a follow-up speech to the president, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “On the very first day of this Congress, House Democrats passed Senate Republicans legislation to re-open this Congress…”
This is VERIFIED - The House of Representatives did pass a group of bills to end the shutdown. They were not voted on in the Senate and did not contain funding for a border wall, something President Trump has said he needs in a bill before he’d sign it.