Fact check: Does the federal government fund undocumented immigrants coming over the border?

Donald Trump claimed that the federal government funds undocumented immigrants crossing over the border at his rally in Fountain Hills March 19.

Referring to a spending bill known as the "omnibus," Trump said, "...it funds illegal immigrants coming in and through your border, right through Phoenix."

President Barack Obama signed the omnibus, a $1.1 trillion federal spending bill, in December. The catch-all bill funds the federal government through Sept. 30, 2016.

But is Trump's statement true?  We put his claim through a PolitiFact truth-check. 

The Trump campaign didn’t respond to our request for comment.

..."it funds illegal immigrants coming in and through your border, right through Phoenix."

Off the mark

The omnibus bill does not fund undocumented immigrants "coming in and through" the border. In fact, it funds the very agency tasked with keeping undocumented immigrants out, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"The salary of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is contained in that bill," said Scott Lilly, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress. "If they weren’t funded, they’d have to stop patrolling."

What Trump could have meant -- though it’s not what he said -- is that undocumented immigrants in the United States may be benefiting from subsidies such as food stamps through their children. But again, that’s not what he said.

"There’s not ...a budget item for illegal immigration," said Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the free-market Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Our ruling

Trump criticized the "omnibus" spending bill passed by Congress and signed by Obama in December, saying it "funds illegal immigrants coming in and through your border, right through Phoenix," among other things.

That’s wrong. It actually funds the agency trying to keep people from crossing the border illegally.

Trump’s claim is wildly wrong. We rate it "Pants on Fire!" 

Null

For the complete fact-check, which includes two other Omnibus bill-related claims, visit our news partner, PolitiFact Arizona

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