NBC, CNN Reporters Botch Coverage of Trump’s Immigration Speech

By Zachary Stieber

At least two reporters botched coverage of President Donald Trump’s speech on immigration on May 16.

Jim Acosta, an activist reporter who works for CNN, tried paraphrasing a portion of Trump’s speech.

“Trump in Rose Garden speech paints asylum seekers with broad brush accusing them of misleading immigration authorities at border,” Acosta wrote on Twitter. He included four words from Trump’s speech: “These are frivolous claims.”

Trump, though, hit people who mislead immigration officials about asylum, some through deliberate manipulation and others through being unaware of current United States policies governing asylum.

“Our nation has a proud history of affording protection to those fleeing government persecutions,” Trump said. “Unfortunately, legitimate asylum seekers are being displaced by those lodging frivolous claims.”

The full quote dramatically changes what Trump was conveying and is the latest example of Acosta, who is openly anti-Trump, botching White House coverage.

“These are frivolous claims to gain admissions into our country. Asylum abuse also strains our public school systems, our hospitals, and local shelters, using funds that we should, and that have to go to, elderly veterans, at-risk youth, Americans in poverty, and genuine need of protection,” Trump added in his speech.

Another reporter, Julia Ainsley of NBC, also has a Twitter feed full of criticism of Trump with no positive stories about the president. For instance, after special counsel Robert Mueller concluded that neither Trump nor his campaign conspired or cooperated with Russia, she pushed stories that continued promoting the conspiracy theory.

Ainsley told her followers on Twitter on Thursday that she would be “fact-checking” Trump’s speech on immigration. She then sent out four missives about the speech, none of which had any sources listed.

“Trump: most claims by families cross the border are frivolous. Fact: fewer than 1 percent of families crossing turn out not to be legitimate,” she wrote in one missive.

Like Acosta, Ainsley didn’t give full context and didn’t quote him directly at all, trying to paraphrase what he said. Trump never said that most claims by asylum-seekers are frivolous.


Department of Homeland Security statistics show that many asylum claims are actually not legitimate.

Nearly 90 percent of aliens said they have a credible fear of persecution in their native country, the department said in November 2018. But many of those don’t follow through on the claims, indicating they’re using the system to get into the country.

“Many aliens who pass through the credible-fear screening thereafter do not pursue their claims for asylum. In the last year, we saw 89 percent of those claiming asylum from the Northern Triangle pass a credible fear screening. However, more than half never applied for asylum after being released or failed to show up for their initial hearing. Eventually, only 9 percent of those who applied for asylum out of these countries actually qualified before a judge,” the department stated.

“The bottom line is that a substantial number of applicants fail to appear for their final hearings before an immigration judge, or fail to comply with removal orders. Even when they appear for their hearings, only a very low rate are ultimately granted asylum.”

Border Patrol Chief of Operations Brian Hastings told The Epoch Times in March that 70 percent of all Border Patrol arrests are from the Northern Triangle—Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

With the number of family units being apprehended exceeding single adult males in October 2018, it would be impossible for Ainsley’s claimed 1 percent figure to be accurate.

Over the past 10 months, Hastings added, officials have confirmed almost 2,400 fraudulent family claims.