Donald Trump managed to make a lot of points about immigration in a very short time during the Aug. 6 Republican debate. The three most significant were about 180 degrees wrong each. Let's run through them:
Update: Coverage of second GOP debate on CNN.
Trump's claim #1: Nobody was talking about illegal immigration before Trump got into the race
Poor Scott Walker. He was trying so hard to make himself the candidate who stood strongly against both unauthorized and legal immigration. So was Rick Santorum. Rick Perry was using his Texas record to tout his ability to secure the border. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubiowere defending their records. Etc.
The murder of Kathryn Steinle definitely helped make unauthorized immigration and sanctuary cities major issues. It's impossible to say if that would have happened in a Trumpless world. But Trump wasn't even the one picking up on it — conservative media, like Fox News, was.
That said, it's definitely true that Trump is speaking to the anxieties of a segment of Republican voters about immigration in a way other candidates aren't.
Trump's claim #2: Mexico is deliberately sending criminals to the United States
Arguably, the Mexican government wants immigration reform as badly as some American politicians do. And the country's leaders understand they have to help with border security to make that happen. At present, the Mexican government is actually taking the lead on apprehending people (including children and families) from Central America.
Oh, right, and, as Marco Rubio pointed out, Mexico isn't even the largest unauthorized-immigrant-sending country to the US as of last year.
Trump's claim #3: He knows criminals are coming over because he went to the border with Border Patrol
He was going to, but the local Border Patrol union that had invited him pulled out at the last minute. The reason: The national union was worried about the appearance of them endorsing a candidate. So basically, Trump just implied the very thing that the union wanted to prevent: that the Border Patrol stands with Trump.