Sunday, September 21st, 2014

UPDATED: John Cornyn's rancher tweet among many claims about border conditions

Sen. Cornyn's Feb. 20, 2013, tweet.
Sen. Cornyn's Feb. 20, 2013, tweet.

As explored in a Dallas Morning News story by Alexandria Baca and Todd J. Gillman that was posted online March 5, 2013, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has declined to offer details behind his Twitter post of Feb. 20, 2013, which opens: "Friend on border sez 300 ppl coming across his property every night."

This reminds us that we’ve checked other claims by the state’s senior Republican senator and other officeholders about life near the Texas-Mexico border.

In 2012, for instance, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, then trying to join Cornyn in the Senate, said the border is sufficiently trafficked that the United States has put up signs in Spanish, English--and Chinese. That’s correct.

Previously, Gov. Rick Perry said during his bid for president that he had put $400 million toward the border so Texas Ranger reconnaissance teams could help. We found that an overstatement; Texas has spent more than $1.8 million on Ranger recon teams, part of hundreds of millions spent by the state on such security.

While seeking his latest term as governor, Perry said he had steered state-level border security efforts reducing crime along the border by 60 percent. Pants on Fire! Crime may have temporarily subsided in some rural parts of the border region, we wrote, but it wasn’t clear how much of any decline could be traced to the state's investment in security.

In January 2011, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said bullets had flown across the border, into Texas, at least four times. That was so.

In March 2010, Cornyn and fellow Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison reacted to the murders of a pregnant American consulate worker and her husband in Ciudad Juarez by writing President Barack Obama, urging him to address the "escalating violence" along the state's southern border.

"The spillover violence in Texas is real and it is escalating," the senators wrote.

Mostly False, we concluded.

No one denies the omnipresent threat of spillover violence along the border, but officials including law officers closest to the border said there had been no surge spilling over. Using its own measure about a year earlier, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration similarly said there was no spillover violence. Then again, the Texas DPS described spillover violence, especially related to cartels and gangs, as a statewide problem on the rise. Upshot: There had been sporadic violent acts, but they weren’t yet measurably increasing.

These checks and others touching on the border are piled to the right.

What else?