Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Passports, please

A border patrol agent monitors the international border in Arizona.
A border patrol agent monitors the international border in Arizona.

At this point, we're hard-pressed to find an elected official who hasn't commented in some fashion on the border Texas shares with Mexico, whether they're boasting about their efforts to boost border patrol, or telling you to beware. Maybe your neighbor has told you that Phoenix is the No. 2 kidnapping capital of the world. We would tell you that's False, but it's not the only statement we've rated recently.

In March, Gov. Rick Perry boasted that his "border security efforts have led to a 60 percent decrease in border crime." We gave that one a Pants on Fire, but we rated Half True his claim that because of the violence in Mexico, "you've got bullets hitting the city hall" and "bombs exploding in El Paso" (some bullets, but the bomb exploded in Juarez).

Boyd Richie, chair of the Texas Democratic Party, took home a False for saying Perry failed "to involved border sheriffs in developing plans to prevent violence in their communities."

And during the Republican gubernatorial primary, we rated Barely True Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's claim that she "quadrupled agents to secure our border."

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith told Fox News in May that Mexican government officials hand out brochures "showing individuals how they can avoid our Border Patrol, how they can get into our country." We rated that Barely True, because in the past, the Mexican government handed out brochures offering advice on how to safely immigrate to the United States for those planning to without authorization.

Sen. John Cornyn earned a Barely True for saying that spillover violence from Mexico to Texas was real and escalating, because we found no evidence to support the claim — although concerns of spillover violence abound. We thought Cornyn was more accurate when he later told a reporter that "we have not had spillover violence, per se... I should have said the threat of potential spillover violence" (his spokesman told us Cornyn misspoke, and stuck with the original claim).

In July, we rated Mostly True President Barack Obama's statement during a speech on the need for immigration reform that today, we have more boots on the ground on the southwest border than at any time in history.

Last month, we rated True Attorney General Greg Abbott's statement that an El Paso highway was closed because of bullets flying over the border.

And recently, we learned of another statement made by Abbott that we missed. "More lives have been lost because of the war with the drug cartels in Juarez alone, just a few blocks from the United States of America, than have been lost in the war in Afghanistan," he said during a July 17 interview on Fox News.

There's a lot more to that story — several years worth, we found.