Verify: President Trump's first State of the Union

9NEWS is fact checking President Donald Trump's first state of the union as it happens.

President Donald Trump is giving his first State of the Union speech Tuesday night before a joint session of Congress.

The speech is the president's annual opportunity to highlight his accomplishments and lay out his plans for 2018.

But is everything in the speech true?

9NEWS plans to verify the facts, figures and details of the president's speech. Check back for updates as the speech happens.

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Want us to verify something from the State of the Union? Email us:

CLAIM: "After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages."

VERDICT: Needs Context

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks how much money American earn each week. At the end of 2017 that amount was $345. That's actually $4 below where we ended 2016.

Americans wages dropped during the Great Recession, but in the middle of 2014 they started to earn more.

That's good news, but it paints a picture of a wave the president is riding rather than something he brought into being.

And wages aren't the whole picture when it comes to prosperity.

The raises Americans got each year didn't keep pace with inflation for the five years following the Great Recession.

That turned around in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wages rose by 5.2 percent in 2015 and 3.2 percent in 2016 after adjusting for inflation.

Wage growth for the first year of Trump's presidency came in slightly above the rate of inflation at 2.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CLAIM: "Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. ​​"


The U.S. Department of Labor announced earlier this month that unemployment claims dropped to the lowest level since February 1973.

One caveat to this is the data for several states were estimated because of the Martin Luther King holiday.

CLAIM: "We have sent thousands and thousands and thousands of MS-13 horrible people out of this country, or into our prisons."

VERDICT: Not Quite

MS-13 is a deadly street gang that has members spread across North America. Trump has made them an enforcement priority for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, but has that translated into thousands of arrests?

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"So far this year, we have secured convictions against more than 1,200 gang members and worked with our partners in Central America to arrest and charge some 4,000 MS-13 members," Attorney Jeff Sessions said in a statement."

Those numbers are in the thousands, but the first isn't specific to MS-13 and the second number isn't in the U.S.

We couldn't find specific numbers for MS-13 convictions and deportations for the entire calendar year, but ICE announced in November 2017 that Operation Raging Bull (an international effort aimed at MS-13) resulted in the arrest of 267 MS-13 members.

CLAIM: "The third pillar ends the visa lottery, a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of American people."


When a person gets picked by the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, that doesn't mean he or she will get on a plane to the U.S.

In fact, the State Department's own website warns winners against selling their home or quitting their jobs.

That's because people who get picked for one of the 50,000 annual visas have to pass a background check and meet certain criteria. Everything from Tuberculosis to polygamy and drug trafficking can cost someone their visa.

CLAIM: “We have ended the war on American Energy – and we have ended the War on clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.”

VERDICT: Needs Context

We're not 100 percent sure what the president meant when we said the U.S. is now an energy exporter.

One possible interpretation is that it means we're now exporting energy products that we didn't before.

That's true, but again, that happened before Trump took office.

At the end of 2015, Congress ended a 40 year ban on crude oil exports as part of a spending bill.

The ban was passed during the Arab oil embargo of 1973.

It's also possible the president meant America is a net exporter of energy. That depends on what metric you look at.

The International Energy Agency expects America to become a net oil exporter by 2027. The U.S. government thinks that will happen by 2026.

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But we're not there yet.

When it comes to natural gas, however, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released a report in August 2017 saying America crossed the threshold into being a net exporter.

CLAIM: "Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses -- many of them thousands of dollars per worker."


Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative group, has compiled a list of companies giving out bonuses following the passage of the tax reform bill.

CLAIM: "In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration."


The man who drove a pickup truck down a crowded bike path in New York City in October 2017 came from Uzbekistan and had a green card through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, according to the New York Times.

A Bangladeshi immigrant behind a plan to bomb a New York City subway came to the U.S. after being sponsored by a family member.

If you're curious about how immigrants are screened before being allowed to come to the U.S., you can reach about that process by clicking here.

CLAIM: “Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama. Soon, plants will be opening up all over the country. This is all news Americans are unaccustomed to hearing -- for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us. But now they are coming back.”

VERDICT: Needs Context

The President’s examples of foreign automakers opening new plants in the US do not underscore a brand new trend as he portrayed it.

Foreign automakers have been opening plants in the US since Toyota opened a massive facility in Kentucky in 1986.

Between 2005 and 2013, car makers from Asia and Europe opened seven new plants in the United States adding tens of thousands of jobs.

US automakers did move more jobs than that out of the country during that period and the President is correct that more plants continue to open in the US under his presidency.

But it’s not correct to say that auto-making jobs were “only leaving” the US until recently.

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