‘You live in a fact free world’: Robert Reich slams ex-sheriff for exaggerating immigrant crimes
Robert Reich, Paul Babeau -- CNN screengrab

Appearing on CNN Tuesday night, former Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich battled with a former Arizona sheriff who attempted to use anecdotal stories of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants to help support President Donald Trump's plans to start major round-ups by immigration officials.

Asked about Trump's immigration policies by host Anderson Cooper, Reich called out Trump for overstating crime levels that the president attributes to immigrants.

"The thing that really worries me, Anderson, is that this entire initiative is based on two Donald Trump lies that he's sold to the American people," Reich began. "One that crime is going way up in the United States and the second that illegal immigration is going way up in the United States. when, in fact, the truth is that crime is going down and illegal immigration has been going down. So why this suddenly becomes a priority is because Donald Trump lied to the American people and the American people believed it."

Late in the segment, former Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu attempted to switch the debate from what he insisted were rising crime rates to worrying about terrorists sneaking over the border.

"We're going to secure the border not just because of illegal immigration but the drug smuggling, they're harming every county, and the youth across this country," Babeu insisted. "Also, more important than those two issues, what about national security? What about people from countries of interest that would use this porous, unsecured border as a likely avenue of approach to come into this country and harm our country? That alone should be the priority to secure this border and the past president has failed to do that. This president will do that. Secure the border, put Americans, our families and our national security first for once."

"Let me just say, there are a lot of problems in this country having to do with drugs, absolutely," Reich responded. "And there are lot of problems having to do with national security. But honestly, if you're looking at trends and troubling trends, crime and illegal immigration are not among the most troubling trends we have."

"Maybe for you, because you haven't talked to families who have been victimized," Babeu shot back.

"No, I'm talking about data. I'm talking about truth. I'm talking about what is actually happening!" Reich parried.

"You're a professor," Babeu sneered.

"Why don't you look at the data?" Reich exclaimed. "Why do you have to live in a fact free world?"

Watch the video below via CNN: