President Donald Trump, in an interview aired Sunday, repeated a frequent lie that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents “actually liberate towns” from gang control.
In a wide-ranging interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, the pair touched on the recent call by several prominent Democrats — and, left unsaid, several ICE special agents — to eliminate ICE and redistribute what critical immigration enforcement responsibilities the agency currently has to other areas of the government.
“You get rid of ICE, you’re going to have a country that you’re going to be afraid to walk out of your house,” Trump said, though the agency is just 15 years old.
He added: “They go into Long Island, they actually liberate towns. They liberate towns! These are incredible people.”
The Trump administration has never presented proof of ICE “liberating” a town from the American-born gang MS-13’s control despite numerous claims by the President; no such locality exists. The White House did not respond Sunday to TPM’s request for the names of any such towns.
The lie recalls Trump’s bogus claim that there are areas in Paris controlled by religious radicals. “You have sections of Paris where the police don’t even want to go there and they probably have areas where they actually practice Sharia law,” he told Lou Dobbs in 2016.
The American ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, apologized for a similar lie about Dutch “no go zones” earlier this year.
Trump has frequently lied about the number of MS-13 gang members deported during his time in office. The New York Times noted Sunday the number of MS-13 members in the country is essentially the same as it was a decade ago.
“We have liberated towns like it was captured by a foreign country,” the President falsely said at a recent campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota. “We have liberated towns out in Long Island.
He made a similarly false claim on Twitter Saturday.
The Democrats are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen. I have watched ICE liberate towns from the grasp of MS-13 & clean out the toughest of situations. They are great!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2018
The interview with Bartiromo touched on several other topics including North Korea’s nuclear program and international trade.
“The European Union is possibly as bad as China, just smaller,” the President said at one point, defending his tariffs on U.S. allies. “It’s terrible what they do to us.”