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President Biden’s first 100 days as president fact-checked

By Reality Check team
BBC News

image copyrightGetty Images

Joe Biden has spent his first 100 days as US president focusing on a series of issues facing the country – from immigration and the economy to Covid and the climate.

On Wednesday evening ahead of this milestone, the president addressed a joint session of Congress.

We’ve fact-checked some of the claims he made during this speech and his first months in office.

Joe Biden: ‘We’ll have provided over 220m Covid shots in 100 days’

This target, given in his speech to Congress, is an increase on previous goals – and has been achieved.

When he took office in January, President Biden pledged 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days. At the end of March he doubled that commitment.

At the time he said: “I know it’s ambitious – twice our original goal. But no other country in the world has even come close, not even close, to what we are doing.”

image copyrightReuters
image captionMr Biden received his first vaccine dose in December

The US has so far delivered a total of 235 million vaccine doses according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Around 16 million of these were given during the Trump administration, which means that around 220 million have been delivered during Mr Biden’s first 100 days in in office.

But the US still lags behind some other countries when comparing the number of jabs done relative to the size of the population.

Israel leads in terms of vaccinating its population against the virus, followed by the United Kingdom and then the US.

Joe Biden: ‘Over 11 million undocumented folks – the vast majority overstaying visas’

In his address to Congress, President Biden made the point that most of the undocumented people living in the US initially came into the country legally on visas, which have then expired.

Mr Biden has recently faced criticism over a surge in illegal migration over the US southern border with Mexico.

Although in some recent years more people have overstayed visas than have been apprehended crossing the southern border, it’s not true that this is the case overall.

image copyrightReuters
image captionMigrants crossing into the US are stopped by a border guard in Texas

A study by the Center for Migration Studies of New York found that visa overstays “significantly exceeded” border-crossing migrations for between 2010-2017.

But experts say this isn’t the the trend over previous decades, and in 2019 (the latest data available) there were 676,422 people who overstayed their visas, compared with 977,509 people apprehended at the border.

Joe Biden: An increase in border migration ‘happens every year… in the winter months’

The number fluctuates widely – but there is not always a significant increase during the winter months.

At a press conference in March, he said: “There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March. It happens every year.”

The US Customs and Border Protection agency releases monthly figures on the number of “encounters” at the south-west land border.

In January and February 2021, 78,442 and 100,441 people were encountered – a significant increase on the figures for the same two months in the previous year, which were each just over 36,000.

Since President Biden made the claim, the count for March has been released – 172,331, the highest in recent years.

In 2020, encounters at the border fell slightly between January and March.

In 2018, they remained relatively steady.

Joe Biden: ‘1.3m new jobs… more jobs in the first 100 days than any president on record’

This is another claim President Biden made during his address to Congress.

Since January, the US economy has added 1,384,000 jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s true that’s the most jobs created in the first 100 days of any presidency since records began.

April’s job numbers are yet to be published, so the number of jobs created in President Biden’s first three months in office is likely to rise further.

This year’s job growth follows unemployment hitting the highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s in April last year – when more than 22 million jobs were lost over two months.

The economy has continued to bounce back from the pandemic under President Biden, having gained more than 13 million during Donald Trump’s final nine months in office.

Joe Biden: ‘America represents less than 15% of the world’s emissions’

This is correct in terms of carbon emissions – the US produces just under 15% of the global total.

President Biden said this during his address to Congress as well as at the recent climate summit, where he encouraged the largest economies to work together to tackle global warming.

China produces by far the most carbon emissions overall, following its rapid economic growth over the past couple of decades.

The US is the next largest emitter, although its carbon emissions have been steadily declining in recent years.

When you look at emissions per person, the US produces considerably more CO2 than China and many other rich countries, and well over the global average.

It generates the most per head for a country of its population size.

Joe Biden: ‘It’s sick – deciding that you’re going to end voting at five o’clock [in Georgia], when working people are just getting off work’

It is not true that voting now has to finish at 17:00, as stated on several occasions by President Biden.

A controversial new election law in the US state of Georgia led to heated disagreement over its impact on voting, which we fact-checked previously.

The law allows counties to set voting hours anywhere between 07:00 and 19:00 for early voting or on election day, as was the case previously.

image copyrightGetty Images

It stipulates the hours required as a minimum on election day, saying: “Voting shall be conducted beginning at 09:00 and ending at 17:00”.

That’s pretty much unchanged because “during normal business hours” was the minimum requirement under the old law, widely interpreted as 9am-5pm.

For early voting, the new law is similarly more explicit, with minimum voting hours up until 5pm set as the default position but with the flexibility of ending at 7pm.

Critics have called the new language more restrictive.

Joe Biden: ‘As you know, the fastest-growing population in the US is Hispanic’

This is not right. Hispanic Americans actually represent the second fastest growing demographic over the past two decades, after Asian Americans.

President Biden made this claim when addressing the Mexican president in March.

The Asian American population grew 81% between 2000 and 2019, from about 10.5 million to almost 19 million, according to Pew Research Center analysis of the latest US census data.

The Hispanic American population grew by 70% during the same period, to more than 60 million.

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