In a campaign characterized by absurd and illogical untruths, Republican candidate Donald Trump continues to outdo himself.
At a meeting with Border Patrol agents Friday at Trump Tower in New York, Trump played up an accusation that the U.S. government is letting undocumented immigrants enter the country so that they can vote for his Democratic Party rival Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election.
It’s the latest in a series of accusations by Trump that the election will be rigged in Clinton’s favor.
During Friday’s meeting, Art Del Cueto, the national vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents Border Patrol agents, said that agents were advised not to deport undocumented immigrants, including those with a criminal record.
“Why?” Trump asked.
The government wants “to hurry up and fast track them so they can go ahead and vote in the election,” said Del Cueto, according to reports from the press team that follows the Trump campaign.
Trump quickly accepted the statement as fact, and urged reporters to write about it, but conceded they probably wouldn’t.
“Big statement, fellas. That’s huge. They’re letting people pour into the country so they can go and vote,” Trump said, motioning to reporters.
Union spokesman Shawn Moran, who was in New York with Del Cueto, later told CBS News' Sopan Deb that those claims are without evidence and are based on heresay.
Border Patrol agents have indeed seen an increase in attempts to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, Moran said. But Moran did not say any border agents had been ordered to let those immigrants in so they could vote in November.
The absurdity of the claim is underscored by the fact that undocumented immigrants are not eligible to vote in U.S. elections. That process is handled by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, not the Border Patrol.
Undocumented immigrants have a tough time getting legal residency, let alone citizenship, according to David Leopold, a well-known Cleveland-based immigration attorney.
"It's impossible for an undocumented immigrant to vote," he told Univision.
U.S. Customs & Border Protection declined to comment.
Del Cueto has spoken in favor of Trump in recent months, and the union has declared the Republican is the “only candidate” willing to take on the border crisis.
"Giant pack of lies; playing [with] fire," tweeted Frank Sharry, executive director of immigrant rights group Americas Voice.
"Those are not serious statements," said Kamal Essaheb, policy director of the National Immigration Law Center Immigrant Justice Fund. "Frankly, it's not surprising coming from a presidential candidate who has really rooted his campaign in anti-immigrant sentiment and has painted entire communities in broad hateful strokes."
Trump's false statement also ignores the realities of the border.
"We are investing $18 billion a year in immigration enforcement and border security, which is more than what we're spending on all other federal law enforcement activities combined," said Essaheb. "There's this misperception out there that's been perpetuated by and amplified by Donald Trump, but the reality is that the border is more resourced than it ever has been."
Rachel Glickhouse and Jessica Weiss contributed to this report.