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PolitiFact Dissects Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Immigration, Sea Level Rise


South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been in the news a lot recently. And PoltiFact Florida has been right there with her, taking a look at their "Truth-O-Meter" on several of her public statements.

First, Wasserman Schultz says President Barack Obama is the boss-buster in chief when it comes to going after employers who hire undocumented workers.

"President Obama has the most border patrols and border security deployed at the border of any previous president," said Wasserman Schultz, in a June 20 interview on MSNBC. Obama "has cracked down on employers who are attracting undocumented immigrants and hiring them more than any previous president."

PolitFact Florida gave Wasserman Schultz, who also serves as the Democratic National Committee chair, a Mostly True for her claim about border patrol and security. 

Next, not long after President Barack Obama gave a speech outlining his plan for attacking climate change, Rep. Wasserman Schultz appeared on Fox News to discuss the future of energy and the environment.

"We've had nine inches of sea-level rise since the 1920s," said Wasserman Schultz in a June 28 interview with Tucker Carlson. "What that means is that communities like mine in South Florida and coastal communities all across the country are facing dangerous sea-level rise, which will ultimately cause homes to be under water in just a few short years."

Credit PolitFact Florida
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was interviewed on Fox News about climate change.

PolitiFact Florida located sea level data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for a variety of locations, including Miami Beach. Using tide gauge data from 1931 to 1981, NOAA found a change equivalent to 0.78 feet in 100 years. That's roughly nine inches since the 1920s.

They checked with two scientists who specialize in sea-level measurements -- Gary B. Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California-Santa Cruz, and Gary Mitchum, a physical oceanographer at the University of South Florida -- and both agreed that the NOAA data was an appropriate source for Wasserman Schultz to rely on. Both scientists considered her claim to be accurate.


So that gets her a "true" on the Truth-O-Meter. Good for her credibility, not so good for those of us living on the coast.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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