GOP candidate cites 'one lady' as source for his lies on immigrants

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North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is standing by his debunked claim that immigrants attacked 'tens of thousands' of kids in his state.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) doubled-down on false claims he made last month that "tens of thousands" of kids in his state had been attacked by migrants. Rather than cite a source for his implausible claim, he attributed the number to an estimate by "one lady."

As previously reported, Forest, who is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper next year, complained at a Nov. 25 immigration roundtable that several communities in North Carolina were not partnering with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to enforce immigration laws. He also attacked Cooper for vetoing a bill to require local sheriffs to do so.

At that roundtable, he made the stunning claim that there are "tens of thousands of children in our state that have been victims of these [undocumented] violent criminals already" who will "grow up with that on their mind."

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PolitiFact rated this claim "False" on Wednesday, stating that there is "no available data to support his claim." PolitiFact noted that a Forest spokesperson attempted to support this by documenting that there were 1,020 criminal charges for immigrants sought by ICE and released in 2019, but only two of those identified children as the victims.

On Thursday, Forest complained in a radio interview that he is being fact-checked on these numbers.

"The media's criticizing me for the numbers that I'm using, but the reality is the average person in North Carolina gets this, that regardless of who's committing the crime, we want to get them off the street," he said. He added that "one lady presented that there were probably over 10,000 children who had had crimes committed against them."

In that interview, first posted by the liberal research group American Bridge 21st Century, Forest also claimed that NCFIRES, a SPLC-designated nativist extremist group, has "been keeping records of this stuff for some time."

The fact-check site Snopes debunked a similar false claim recently that 10,800 children were raped in the country by undocumented immigrants last year. North Carolina crime statistics show only about 2,000 rapes of all kinds are reported each year.

In reality, studies show undocumented immigrants as a group commit fewer crimes than the rest of the U.S. population.

Forest's anti-immigrant views are nothing new. In June, he said that the "diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today" could destroy the country.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.