AP FACT CHECK: GOP claims on immigrants, education

Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, from left, Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich stand up for the national anthem during a presidential debate at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, a suburb of Miami on Thursday, March 10, 2016. (Pedro Portal/The Miami Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some of the claims in the latest Republican presidential debate and how they stack up with the facts:

DONALD TRUMP on why he opposes Common Core: “Education through Washington, D.C. …. It’s all been taken over now by the bureaucrats in Washington.”

THE FACTS: Common Core is not a federal program at all, but a set of standards developed primarily by governors and education leaders in states. The standards spell out certain skills that students should grasp, while leaving how those skills are mastered up to local school districts and states.

There was no federal mandate that states adopt the Common Core State Standards. However, the federal government did encourage them, through its Race to the Top education grants that were given to states that adopted rigorous academic standards. The flip side of rewarding states that take certain steps is that it punishes states that don’t.

That’s the root of complaints about Washington having a heavy hand in local education. But it’s a far cry from the picture painted by Trump and some other Common Core critics of a local system “taken over” by Washington.


TED CRUZ: “We’re gonna end welfare benefits for anyone who is here illegally.”

THE FACTS: It’s unclear what benefits Cruz could take away. Immigrants living in the country illegally generally are not eligible for federal welfare benefits already.

To be sure, the U.S.-citizen children and spouses of immigrants who are in the country illegally are entitled to federal benefits, including food stamps and housing programs. Public hospitals are required to provide emergency medical care regardless of immigration status.

And children are also legally entitled to a free public education, regardless of their immigration status. But that’s because of a 1982 Supreme Court ruling, not something a president can merely end through executive action or legislation.


TRUMP: Says the U.S. is getting nothing in return for its defense partnership with Saudi Arabia. “Saudi Arabia was making a billion dollars a day and we were getting virtually nothing to protect them.”

THE FACTS: The U.S. has no such treaty commitment to defend Saudi Arabia, but rather a decades-long alliance. It has no troops based in the kingdom other than advisers. And it’s not so that the U.S. gets nothing from the alliance: U.S. companies have received tens of billions of dollars from arms sales to the Saudis.

The U.S. did send troops to the kingdom in 1990 after Iraq’s Saddam Hussein invaded neighboring Kuwait. But the Saudis reimbursed the U.S. about $16 billion for that troop presence.


Associated Press writers Alicia A. Caldwell and Robert Burns contributed to this report.

EDITOR’S NOTE _ A look at political claims that take shortcuts with the facts or don’t tell the full story

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