President Trump stated immigration had been a “very negative” thing for Europe during a joint press briefing with British Prime Minister Theresa May Friday.
“I think it’s been very bad for Europe,” he said, before referencing the influx of refugees fleeing to Germany over the past few years. “I think Europe is a place I know very well, and I think that what has happened is very tough. It’s a tough situation. You see the same terror attacks that I do. We see them a lot.”
The president continued his racist monologue, stating that immigrants were “changing the culture” for the worse.
“I think it’s a very negative thing for Europe. I think it’s very negative,” he said. “…I have a great relationship with Angela Merkel, great relationship with Germany, but I think that’s very much hurt Germany and I think it’s very much hurt other parts of Europe. And I know it’s politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I’ll say it and I’ll say it loud. and I think they better watch themselves […]. It’s a very sad situation, very unfortunate.”
Trump also claimed that the United States was, at present, “far superior to anything that’s happened before” in terms of immigration, and suggested that Europe follow suit and implement similar policies to achieve the same.
Trump appeared to be referring to his administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which has been highly criticized as inhumane and has resulted in approximately 3,000 children being forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border and locked up in juvenile detention facilities, some of which have faced allegations of abuse.
Although the government was ordered to reunite those families by the end of the month — the deadline for those children under 5 passed earlier this week on July 10 — administration officials have struggled to do so, due to a lack of proper record keeping. So far, out of the 102 children younger than 5, only 57 have been reunited with their parents. The remaining children are either ineligible for reunification because their parents were deemed unfit or had criminal records, or because officials have been unable to reunite the families due to the deportation of one or both parents.
Officials now face the much bigger task of reuniting the remaining 2,900 separated minors, which will prove far more difficult.
Trump’s zero-tolerance policy was first implemented back in April, and refers anyone detained at the U.S.-Mexico border — including asylum seekers who attempt to cross into the United States between the border ports of entry — for prosecution. The policy was expanded in May to include increased family separations, although Trump later signed an executive order rolling back that practice, following intense criticism from the global community and human rights organizations, including the United Nations.
The president has long been critical of all forms of immigration, referring to immigrants themselves as “animals,” “rapists,” the “worst people,” and calling them and “infest[ation]” on the country. In June, he claimed that the United States needed to crack down on immigration, “or we will no longer have a country that we can be proud of.”
Trump’s comments Friday echoed statements he gave to The Sun one day earlier. During that interview he claimed refugees had “changed the fabric of Europe” in a negative way and suggested Europeans were subsequently “losing their culture.”
“I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad,” he said. “I think you’re losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist 10 or 15 years ago.”
Multiple studies have shown that, despite the increase in immigration to parts of Europe over the past few years, the number of crimes committed by migrants and refugees is still low. Though some regions have seen a number of high-profile crimes committed by extremists or migrant men, statistics show those incidents are relatively isolated and not indicative of the overall immigrant population.
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
Official data has not stopped Trump from propagating the myth of the “violent immigrant.” On June 18, the president criticized Germany for allowing refugees into the country, tweeting, “…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!”
As ThinkProgress previously reported, German crime data for 2017 shows the country’s crime rate dropped to its lowest level since 1992. The New York Times also noted that, “in cases where a suspect had been identified, crimes committed by non-Germans were down by 2.7 percent, while crimes committed by Germans were down by 2.2 percent.”