Fact-Checkers Don’t Know What To Make Of Hillary’s ‘Open Borders’ Claim

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

Reporters fact-checking Wednesday night’s presidential debate didn’t exactly know how to rate Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s claim that her previous remarks about “open borders” referred to a common market for green energy, not immigration.

Fox News host and debate moderator Chris Wallace asked Clinton about remarks she made in a paid speech to a Brazilian bank in 2013 where she said her “dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders.”

“Well, if you went on to read the rest of the sentence, I was talking about energy,” Clinton responded.

Fact-checkers weren’t so sure since the Clinton campaign has not released the full transcript of the speech, which she was paid $225,000 to give. A portion of the speech transcript was released by WikiLeaks.

“You know, we trade more energy with our neighbors then we trade with rest of the world combined and I do want us to have an electric grid, an energy system that crosses borders, I think I would be a great benefit to us,” Clinton responded to Wallace.

Clinton’s own campaign flagged the speech excerpt as concerning since it painted the former secretary of state as “pro trade,” according to emails hacked from campaign chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account.

“Fact-checks have debated what exactly this means. While Clinton’s campaign says it’s about energy, reasonable people have disagreed,” NRP reporter Danielle Kurtzleben wrote of Clinton’s response.

“PolitiFact cited people who said they believed it referred to both trade and immigration,” she wrote. “FactCheck.org, meanwhile, believed it ‘was related to trade, not immigration.’ However one interprets this, it is also true that Clinton has not called for ‘open borders’ as a policy during this campaign.”

PolitiFact rated Republican nominee Donald Trump’s claim that Clinton was for open borders as “mostly false,” but then noted they “can’t fully evaluate her remarks to a bank because we don’t have the full speech.”

“I don’t think she is calling for open immigration, but the context of her remarks shows that when she says ‘open borders,’ she doesn’t just mean open trade,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told PolitiFact.

ABC News rated Trump’s claim Clinton wants open orders as “yes and no.” ABC reported “Clinton says she was talking about energy, not immigration, and her immigration plan does not call for open borders or amnesty.”

“Clinton’s immigration plan, similar to what Obama is currently doing, does call for border enforcement, but the resources would be focused on ‘detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety,’” ABC reported.

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