Donald Trump said on Saturday that people are “rioting” to get out of sanctuary cities, a statement so thoroughly lacking in any factual context that it may yet be the most confusing of his presidency.
As Yahoo News reports, the 45th president was in Nevada Saturday night when he touched on one of his favorite topics: immigration. Specifically, he mentioned so-called “sanctuary cities.”
“A lot of people in California don’t want [sanctuary cities]. They’re rioting now; they wanna get out of their sanctuary cities… They’re demanding they be released from sanctuary cities.”
A “sanctuary city,” for those not familiar, is a city wherein the government and police limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities as far as reporting, detaining, or deporting undocumented immigrants. There are several such cities in the U.S., inside and outside of California, although the lion’s share are, in fact, in California.
And while it’s true that many in California don’t want sanctuary cities, no one is rioting because of them. Certainly no one is rioting to get out of them. California has been pretty short on riots of late, as several California Twitter users have been quick to point out.
What’s more, getting out of a sanctuary city isn’t so difficult that it requires a riot to force your hand. All you have to do to get out of any sanctuary city in the U.S. is get in your car, consult with Google Maps, and drive away. No one is going to stop you. If Americans were being prevented from leaving their cities, every media outlet in the country, including (especially) Fox News, would be telling you about it every day.
The definition of “riot” is fluid, however, and one man’s riot is another man’s angry demonstration. Regardless, of the riots that have taken place in the country in recent months, few to none have had anything to do with immigration and sanctuary cities. In fact, most of the riots that have happened in the U.S. recently have happened at events involving Trump supporters.
Just this summer, for example, there was a violent brawl in Portland, where members of the right-wing “Patriot Prayer” group clashed with counter-protesters, according to The Guardian. And let’s not forget the August, 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, that ended up with a right-wing attendee driving his car into a crowd and killing a woman.
So yes, there have been riots in this country recently, but not over sanctuary cities, and not because people are being held against their wills.