On Tuesday morning, President Trump accused the German government of suppressing crime statistics that would purportedly show migrants are responsible for a massive crime wave in the country.
“Crime in Germany is up 10% plus (officials do not want to report these crimes) since migrants were accepted,” Trump tweeted. “Others [sic] countries are even worse. Be smart America!”
Crime in Germany is up 10% plus (officials do not want to report these crimes) since migrants were accepted. Others countries are even worse. Be smart America!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2018
It’s unclear where Trump got the “10% plus” figure, nor is it clear what Trump means by the phrase “since migrants were accepted.”
Trump’s tweet was intended to defend one he posted on Monday baselessly asserting that “Crime in Germany is way up.”
“Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!” he wrote.
The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
Trump’s tweet was a lie. Actual German crime data from last month shows the national crime rate in Germany over the previous year was at its lowest level since 1992.
As ThinkProgress detailed with regard to Trump’s Monday tweet:
The whole issue stems from a political conflict in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government decided in 2015 to allow over 1 million refugees from the Middle East and Africa to enter Germany. The decision sparked some opposition, most recently in the form of Interior Minister Horst Seehofer’s open challenge to the policy, and a public poll showing 62 percent of Germans want to turn away asylum-seekers at the border.
Seehofer himself announced the new low crime rate last month, concluding, “Germany has become safer.”
During a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was confronted about the disconnect between Trump’s tweet and reality.
“I have here in my hands figures from the Germany Ministry of the Interior under Minister Seehofer,” reporter John Gizzi said. “It says that crime has gone down 5.1 percent in Germany — in fact, it’s the lowest rate in a quarter-century in Germany. Violent crime down 2.4 percent, burglary down 23 percent, and theft down 11.8 percent. Where did the president get the statement that crime was way up in Germany under the Merkel plan for admitting refugees?”
Unable to defend Trump’s baseless tweet, Sanders moved on as quickly as possible.
“I’m not aware of the report that you’re referencing, but I’d be happy to check into it and circle back with you,” she said.
“It’s from the German Ministry of the Interior,” Gizzi pointed out.
“I heard that part but I haven’t seen it, but I’d be happy to check into it and circle back,” Sanders replied, before calling on another reporter.
REPORTER: Trump's tweet about an immigrant crime wave in Germany are completely at odds with reality. Care to explain?
SANDERS: ¯_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/YZCbPRMxhq
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 18, 2018
Trump’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has spread misinformation about immigrant crime in America. In a memo released in February announcing the creation of the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office, DHS asserted that “criminal aliens routinely victimize Americans and other legal residents.”
But the entire VOICE office is based on a false premise. Data indicates undocumented immigrants are no more likely to commit crimes than American citizens, and are actually less likely to be criminals in some cases.