Obama hits back at RNC criticism of crime, illegal immigration rates

July 22, 2016 GMT

President Obama hit back Friday at criticism from the Republican National Convention of his leadership, saying crime and illegal immigration in the U.S. are at their lowest levels in decades.

“Some of the fears that were expressed throughout the week just don’t jibe with the facts,” Mr. Obama said at a White House press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. “The violent crime rate in America has been lower during my presidency than any time during the last three of four decades.”

Responding the day after Republican nominee Donald Trump gave an acceptance speech harshly critical of Mr. Obama’s leadership, the president said he hopes Americans woke up Friday morning to realize that there were “birds chirping and folks are going to work.”

“This idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse, this vision of violence and chaos everywhere, doesn’t really jibe with the experience of most people,” Mr. Obama said.

Addressing Mr. Trump’s calls to build a wall on the Mexican border, Mr. Obama said, “The rate of illegal migration into the United States today is lower by two-thirds than it was when Ronald Reagan was president. We have far fewer undocumented workers cross in the border today than we did in the ’80s or ’90s or when George [W.] Bush was president. That’s a fact.”

Mr. Pena Nieto tried not to get drawn into the presidential contest or Mr. Trump’s proposals.

“Your next madame president or president will find in Mexico a strategic partner to face all the challenges that we share,” he said.