AJC Fact-checkers look at Clinton, Trump, “birthright citizenship”

Hillary Clinton, Mercedes-Benz, Donald Trump and a conservative pundit talking about “birthright citizenship.”

They all took a ride on the AJC Truth-O-Meter last week, courtesty of PolitiFact and PolitiFact Georgia.

Abbreviated versions of our fact checks are below.

Full versions can be found at www.politifact.com/georgia/.

Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz at a press conference on Monday, August 24th, 2015

Buying the naming rights to the new Falcons stadium is the largest marketing deal in Mercedes-Benz history.

Mercedes-Benz CEO Steve Cannon says buying the naming rights to the new Atlanta Falcons stadium is the largest marketing deal in the German auto maker’s history.

But the company provided no specifics.

Three academics who focus on sports economy provided estimates of the annual value of the stadium naming rights at between $8 million and $20 million. A sports publication, which closely watches such deals, as worth $12 million a year.

Media outlets have reported that Mercedes-Benz paid about $60 million for naming rights to the Superdome in New Orleans and to an arena in Shanghai, China.

We couldn’t determine the company’s marketing budget. But we found out auto maker spends about $340 million a year in the U.S. on advertising across all media, according to the monitoring service Kantar Media.

Bradley Johnson, director of data analytics for the trade publication Advertising Age, said the Mercedes-Benz stadium deal in Atlanta will likely account for just a small part of the automaker’s annual marketing budget.

Experts we talkedto said the naming rights probably are costing the luxury car dealer between $8 million and $20 million a year, which over 27 years would be on the low end $216 million. Industry analysts say Mercedes-Benz may spend close to that top dollar figure in a single year, but not on a single marketing deal.

We rated the statement Mostly True.


Donald Trump on Sunday, August 16th, 2015 in a policy on immigration

“The annual cost of free tax credits alone paid to illegal immigrants quadrupled to $4.2 billion in 2011.”

Donald Trump unveiled his official immigration policy plan on Aug. 16.

Highlights of the plan include deporting all undocumented immigrants, ending birthright citizenship and “making Mexico pay for the wall.”

“For many years, Mexico’s leaders have been taking advantage of the United States by using illegal immigration to export the crime and poverty in their own country,” the position page on Trump’s website reads. “The costs for the United States have been extraordinary. … Indeed, the annual cost of free tax credits alone paid to illegal immigrants quadrupled to $4.2 billion in 2011.”

We found a 2011 audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration that corroborates his claim. Nonetheless, Trump confuses a few points.

Trump conflates “illegal immigrants” with “unauthorized workers,” a group composed largely of undocumented immigrants but also legal immigrants and others.

The $4.2 billion refers to the amount given in tax credit refunds for children, the large majority of whom are U.S. citizens. And the actual year is 2009, not 2011 (that was the year the report was published).

We rated his claim Half True.

S.E. Cupp on Sunday, August 23, 2015 in an interview on “State of the Union

“There are actually only 30 countries that practice birthright citizenship.”

The country’s 150-year-old right of citizenship to every person upon birth on U.S. soil has become the latest test question for GOP presidential candidates, with Donald Trump and Ben Carson coming out strongly in favor of ending the practice.

In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, conservative pundit S.E. Cupp suggested the United States’ law makes it an outlier on the issue compared to the rest of the world.

“There are actually only 30 countries that practice birthright citizenship,” she said on the Aug. 23, 2015, show, “making the U.S. kind of an anomaly.”

We wanted to see if the United States is one of 30 countries in the world to offer automatic citizenship to anyone born on its soil.

We reached out to Cupp through her publicist but did not hear back.

The United States is one of 33 countries around the world that offer citizenship to every person born on their soil. Among those 33, the United States admits the highest number of immigrants per year. In contrast, most other developed countries have added more requirements for citizenship. This makes the United States somewhat of an outlier on the issue.

We rated Cupp’s statement True.

Hillary Clinton on Monday, August 17th, 2015 in an interview with Iowa Public Radio

If I had not asked for my emails all to be made public, none of this would have been in the public arena.”

Hillary Clinton says her emails are now out in the open solely because she wanted them to be made public.

In an Aug. 17 interview with Iowa Public Radio, Clinton told reporter Clay Masters what she thinks will come of her controversial decision to exclusively use private email while secretary of state.

“I think this will all sort itself out,” Clinton said. “And in a way, it’s kind of an interesting insight into how the government operates. Because if I had not asked for my emails all to be made public, none of this would have been in the public arena.”

We know that Clinton did ask the State Department to release her emails, and they are now being released on a rolling basis. But it isn’t quite right to say that if she hadn’t made that request, her emails would not now be “in the public arena.”

It’s disingenuous for Clinton to treat her request as proactive transparency, when her practices protected her email from public scrutiny until she was out of office.

We rated Clinton’s claim Mostly False.

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