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Miriam Valverde
By Miriam Valverde October 31, 2016

Pants on Fire! Trump says Clinton would let 650 million people into the U.S., in one week

One of Donald Trump’s signature lines at campaign rallies are his promise to secure the border in contrast with Hillary Clinton’s "open borders."

"She wants open borders. We could have 600 million people pour into our country. Think of it. Once you have open borders like that, you don’t have a country anymore," Trump said in Greeley, Colo., on Oct. 30, according to CBS News.

By the time Trump spoke in Albuquerque, the number had jumped to 650 million people. And Trump said it would happen "in one week."

"She wants to let people just pour in. You could have 650 million people pour in, and we do nothing about it. Think of it. That’s what could happen. You triple the size of our country in one week," Trump said.

Both claims are ridiculous and should be discarded immediately.

Some numbers, for context

The worldwide population is about 7.3 billion people, and the United States is home to about 324 million.

The U.S. immigrant population in 2014 was more than 42.4 million, or 13.3 percent of the nation’s total population, according to Migration Policy Institute estimates using Census Bureau data. That represents millions of people who have migrated to the United States over decades.

There are about 1 million daily legal crossings between the United States and Mexico -- that’s a count of people going back and forth into each country.

Mexicans represent the single largest share of the U.S. total migrant population, about 27 percent in 2015, according to Migration Policy Institute. Yet, more Mexicans have left the United States than have come in since the end of the Great Recession, according to Pew Research Center.

To get close to Trump's 650 million migration, every single person from South America, Central America and Canada would have to move to the United States (about 633 million people), the Washington Post noted.

To do it, as Trump said, in one week, 3.87 million people would have to enter the country every hour for 168 straight hours. That's equivalent to the entire population of the city of Los Angeles entering the country every hour for a full week.

Clinton’s immigration stance

While Trump's claim is logistically impossible, it's also in no way what Clinton proposes.

Featured Fact-check

We asked Trump’s campaign where the candidate was drawing his information from and they circled back to their claim that Clinton is for open borders, something we've rated False or Mostly False depending on the particulars of what Trump said.

The Clinton campaign said she did not support allowing 650 million people into the country. "This is just demonstrably false," said Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for Clinton’s campaign.

So what is Clinton’s policy?

At campaign events, presidential debates, press conferences and on the immigration reform page on Clinton’s campaign website, there has been no mention of Clinton wanting millions of people to pour into the United States, much less in a week. She has not called for open borders.

In September 2015, Clinton said in a CBS’ Face the Nation interview the United States should accept 65,000 Syrian refugees afflicted by that country’s civil war.

"We're facing the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II and I think the United States has to do more," Clinton said. She has stressed a need for thorough refugee vetting.

Based on Clinton’s September 2015 comment, Trump recently made the False assertion that Clinton would bring in 620,000 refugees in her first term.

Clinton has not said that, and Trump’s statement was based on assumptions.

Clinton does support increasing immigration for high-skilled workers and entrepreneurs. But there's been no reference to millions of people migrating to the United States.

Finally, the Democratic presidential nominee has widely spoken about offering a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally and to introduce comprehensive immigration reform within her first 100 days in office.

Clinton has said she would focus on deporting those who pose a violent threat to public safety.

In 2013, Clinton supported legislation (which never passed) that included a path to citizenship, billions for border security, fencing along the Mexican border and adding 20,000 border agents.

Our ruling

Trump said Clinton "wants to let people just pour in. You could have 650 million people pour in, and we do nothing about it. Think of it. That’s what could happen. You triple the size of our country in one week."

Clinton has never said that, nor is this a realistic possibility. Clinton has spoken in favor of bring in 65,000 Syrian refugees, but that’s nowhere near hundreds of millions of people, and not in a week.

Trump’s claim is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim. We rate it Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

CBS News, Trump says Clinton could let 650 million new immigrants into U.S., Oct. 31, 2016

Email exchange, Hillary Clinton campaign, Oct. 31, 2016

Email exchange, Donald Trump campaign, Oct. 31, 2016

Hillary Clinton campaign website, immigration reform

U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. and World Population Clock

Migration Policy Institute, Largest U.S. Immigrant Groups over Time, 1960-Present

Migration Policy Institute, U.S. Immigration Trends

Migration Policy Institute, Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States

Pew Research Center, More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S., Nov. 19, 2015

Council on Foreign Relations, Hillary Clinton on National Security and the Islamic State, Nov. 19, 2015

Washington Post, Donald Trump warns that 650 million immigrants could come to the U.S. in a week. Let’s do the math!, Oct. 31, 2015

CBS News, Hillary Clinton: U.S. should take 65,000 Syrian refugees, Sept. 20, 2015

PolitiFact, Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton wants to have open borders, Oct. 19, 2016

PolitiFact, Trump: 'I’ve been proven right' about Clinton wanting open borders, Oct. 12, 2016

PolitiFact, Trump says 1 million legal crossings along U.S.-Mexico border, Sept. 14, 2016

PolitiFact, Martin O'Malley: Net migration from Mexico was 0 in 2014, Nov. 14, 2015

PolitiFact, Rudy Giuliani wrongly says Hillary Clinton is for open borders, July 18, 2016

PolitiFact, Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton would create 'totally open borders', June 23, 2016

PolitiFact, Clinton wants to admit thousands of refugees with no vetting, Rick Scott says, Sept. 29, 2016

PolitiFact, Trump says Clinton would bring in 620,000 refugees in her first term, Sept. 27, 2016

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Miriam Valverde

Pants on Fire! Trump says Clinton would let 650 million people into the U.S., in one week

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