Border Agent Build Up: Blame Bush


In his speech, Obama gave a nod to Bush’s actions, saying this was a “build up that began under President Bush and that we have continued.” This is a more elegant formulation than the phrasing used by Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, in briefings previewing the speech this week. Carney simply erased Bush out of the picture.

On Monday, Carney said: “I think he [Obama] will make points about the steps we’ve taken on border security, the fact that the number of border agents today is double what it was in 2004.” On Tuesday, Carney said: “We have substantially increased the number of Border Patrol agents twice — more than 20,000 now — twice the number that there were in 2004.”

However, that 20,000 number was on track to be achieved before Obama ever took the oath of office. By the end of fiscal year 2009, which began on Oct. 1, 2008, there were 20,119 Border Patrol agents.

On Oct. 20, 2009, the Border Patrol website put up a notice saying it was no longer hiring: “The Border Patrol successfully filled the Presidential mandate of hiring 6,000 additional Border Patrol Agents (BPA) and presently has sufficient applicants to meet their continuing hiring goals. Therefore, the Reinstatement Program is indefinitely suspended and will no longer accept applications.”

That would be Bush’s mandate.

In fact, in the fiscal year 2011 budget, announced in early 2010, Obama proposed to let the number of border agents drop by 180 through attrition as a budget-saving maneuver. But then in June of last year, after Republican lawmakers balked at an immigration overhaul without a boost in border security, the administration suddenly requested an additional $600 million for security along the southwest border. The money in part would be used to hire an additional 1,000 agents. That bill passed a few months later.


The Pinocchio Test

Obama certainly phrased this more accurately than his spokesman, but the set-up — “we have strengthened” — might leave the listener with the impression that much of this growth in the border force was accomplished under the Obama administration. The doubling in agents was a goal set in place by Bush. Obama has added additional agents beyond Bush’s goal, though only under pressure from Congress. His initial instinct was to throttle back.

We don’t give half-Pinocchios, but Obama’s statement would almost qualify. But it followed two days of spin by his spokesman, who clearly left listeners with the wrong impression.

One Pinocchio

WaPo Fact Checker

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Jake Tapper of ABC News pointed out the same thing:

A more apt comparison might be to look at how many Border Patrol agents there were when President Obama took office and compare that to now.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, as of October 2008, there were 17,499 Border Patrol agents in total – including those at the Canadian border.

As of April 9, 2011, there were 20,745 Border Patrol agents nationwide – an increase of approximately 3,246 since President Obama took office.

And what about those agents on the US-Mexican border? Surely that’s what many in the audience thought the president was talking about as he stood on the border and talked about border agents – not those in Buffalo, NY.

As of October 2008, there were 15,442 Border Patrol agents at the Southwest border. There are currently 17,659 Border Patrol Agents between the more than 160 ports of entry on the Southwest border.

That’s an increase of 2,217 Border Patrol agents on the Southwest border in two years.

The administration has made it a goal to have 18,000 Border Patrol agents at the Southwest border by October 2011.

The office of Customs and Border Protection notes there are also 6,540 CBP officers at those ports of entry on the Southwest border.

Then Obama also made this claim:

“Well, that fence is now basically complete.”

The president is referring to the fact that 649 miles of fencing have been completed out of 652 miles of fencing mandated by Congress. (Out of 1,969 miles of border with Mexico.)

Only approximately 30 miles of fence are reinforced.

The border remains quite porous.

The Border Patrol, per the GAO study, has achieved “varying levels of operational control for 873 of the nearly 2,000 southwest border miles at the end of fiscal year 2010…GAO’s preliminary analysis of the 873 border miles under operational control in 2010 showed that about 129 miles (15 percent) were classified as ‘controlled’ and the remaining 85 percent were classified as ‘managed.’”

If you read Politifacts, you come away from their Truth-O-Meter very confused. i.e.:

it states that on April 9, 2011, there was a total of 20,745 Border Patrol agents, 17,659 assigned to the southern border. Then the problem starts with their twisting of facts. They say that number is up from 17,499 BP agents at the end of Sept., 2008 and that the number of agents has increased from 15,422 to 17,659, but they don’t list the years. (sins of ommission). The report goes on to say that a March, 2010 Congressional Research Service said:

“Border Patrol agent manpower assigned to the southwest border has been increasing steadily since the early 1990’s. In 1992, there were 3,555 agents assigned to the southern border, by 2000 that number had increased 114 percent to 8,580. Since 2000, the number of agents assigned to the southern border has continued to increase, more than doubling once more to 20,119 agents at the end of FY 2009.”

Now a few things stand out:

The end of FY 2009 would have been under a budget passed while Bush was still in office.
The number of agents at the end of that budget year on the southern border was 20,119 while the total number of agents in April, 2011 was 20,745.
The article first leads the reader to think that there were only a total of 17,499 agents at the end of Sept, 2008, while further down in the article it states that by the end of FY 2009, there were already 20,119 agents at the southern border. If there was an increase of 2,620 agents on the southern border by Sept, 2010 (end of the Fiscal year) it would have been under the FY budget passed while Bush was still in office.
Politifacts rate Obama’s statement as true.

While it is true that the BP presence at the southern border has increased, it has not been under Obama. The increase was under Clinton (more than doubling the presence) and Bush (again doubling the presence). Obama’s speech writers had to go all the way back to 2004 (almost 7 years) to spin the facts to his advantage.


Good point, retiro05.
IIRC Obama was also roundly criticized for only sending administrative agents to the southern border.
His agents were not going to do patrols or make arrests at all.

One other thing: Politifacts first states that on April 9, 2011, there were 17,659 agents assigned to the southern border out of a total of 20,745 agents. Later it reports that at the end of FY 2009, there were 20,119 agents assigned to the southern border. If at the end of FY 2009 (Sept.2009) there were 20,119 agents on the southern border and now, just last month, there were only 17,659 agents on the southern border that indicates that 2,460 agents have been pulled off our southern border.

NanG, last month I printed this out from one of the BP locals websites:

4-19-11: Update: Fox News has updated this story (of a Arizona sheriff (Dever?) who claims BP agents have told him that they have been ordered to not arrest illegals crossing over the border). We have David Aguilar on tape, yelling at agents “You are NOT immigration officers.” and explaining that our main job is not to arrest illegal aliens. He goes on to say that we should never “lower” ourselves to the status of immigration officer. If he denies it, we’ll bring out the audio tapes, if he wants.”

Since then, on that site, all entries for April have been removed, including the ones that were dealing with agent overtime. Now it’s latest entry is for March, showing how BP agents are being required to pick up trash in the desert. But the entry, now removed, proves the claims of the Arizona sheriff that our BP agents have been ordered not to arrest those entering illegally.

And while the administration claims that deportations are up, that is also spinning. Deportations are up for those with a U.S. criminal background, but is waaaaaay down for those who are just here illegally.

Obama also left out the following:

U.S. Border Patrol sector chief Carlos X. Carrillo reportedly said: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Border Patrol’s job is not to stop illegal immigrants. The Border Patrol’s job is not to stop narcotics … or contraband or narcotics … the Border Patrol’s mission is not to stop criminals. The Border Patrol’s mission is to stop terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the country.” David Aguilar, the chief of the U.S, Office of Border Patrol, ‘corrects’ Carrillo’s statement saying the Border Patrol’s mission “is to protect our country’s borders from all threats. Our highest priority is keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering our country.”

Since when? Well, in March, 2003, the Customs Service was dissolved to form part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division. The border functions of the INS, which included the Border Patrol along with INS Inspectors, were combined with U.S. Customs Inspectors into the newly created U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The current head of the CBP is Commissioner Alan Bersin. Commissioner Bersin was placed by President Barack Obama on March 27, 2010 as a recess appointment.

So who is Alan Bersin?

Bersin is a former Secretary of Education for California, as well as a former superintendent of San Diego City Schools, past federal Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) and United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, and former Attorney General’s Southwest Border Representative. He previously served as the chair of the executive committee of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Bersin formerly served as the Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs, informally known as the “Border Czar.” On April 15, 2009, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the appointment of Bersin as DHS Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs.

So what is the mission of the CBP?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security and charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs and immigration. CBP is currently the largest law enforcement agency in the United States with a workforce of more than 42,389 sworn Federal Agents and Officers.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection secures the homeland by preventing the illegal entry of people and goods while facilitating legitimate travel and trade.

It certainly looks to me by their own description that the CBP’s job is also still to enforce immigration law. So either the officers who have claimed they are not to enforce immigration laws are being mistrained (I suspect by the Obama administration in following George Soros’ scociety marching orders,) or the American public has been lied to in 2003 when they were told that under the Department of Homeland Defense the CBP will enforce the our immigration laws.

59,017 “Other Than Mexican” Illegal Aliens Apprehended in 2010, including 663 “Aliens from Special Interest Countries”

“We should not be surprised if terrorists take advantage of our porous borders in light of the Obama administration’s lax approach to border security,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “When you have an administration that pushes illegal alien amnesty, permits illegal alien sanctuary policies, and attacks states like Arizona for seeking to enforce the rule of law, it sends a signal to our enemies to cross the border illegally and to do their worst. The Obama administration continues to allow our borders to spiral out of control. These numbers are simply astonishing. Our country cannot secure our borders soon enough!”

Considering that the CBP has still (as of may 2011) been arresting illegal immigrants, we have to wonder if it is only CBP officers in certain locals (parts of Arizona? New Mexico? Texas?) who are being ordered not to detain/arrest. Clearly another Obama”W.T.F” project. Something is clearly rotten in D.C. and it is reminiscent of the events leading up to the Watts riot.

Extra little known fact: The Immigration and Nationality Act includes section 287(g), added in 1996, grants local and state jurisdictions the ability to enforce immigration law with proper training and supervision by federal authorities.