Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

On 'This Week': border security and the economy

From left, Reps. Brian Bilbray and Luis Gutierrez take questions from moderator Jake Tapper.
From left, Reps. Brian Bilbray and Luis Gutierrez take questions from moderator Jake Tapper.

A long, hot summer before the fall elections has politicians discussing contentious points of domestic policy. The topics on the July 11 installment of ABC News' This Week were the economy and immigration.

We fact-checked Rep. Luis Gutierrez's statement, "Forty percent of the undocumented workers in this country" entered the U.S. legally and "overstayed their visa." We rated this Mostly True. Most of the evidence supports his statement, but some of the data is imprecise and slightly out of date.

We're still working on two fact-checks about the economy from President Obama's political adviser David Axelrod. We'll post them when we're finished, and you can check back here for links.

We also noticed a few statements made about topics we've already fact-checked.

• Moderator Jake Tapper played video of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who said she believed the majority of people crossing the border illegally were engaged in the drug trade or other criminal enterprise. Tapper said that wasn't true. We fact-checked Brewer's statement that "The majority of the people that are coming to Arizona and trespassing are now becoming drug mules." We rated it False because prosecutions data involving immigration offenses show a low number of drug-related charges. Additionally, experts said her statements didn't jibe with the experience of border patrol agents in the field.

• Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., supports Arizona's recent law that attempts to beef up border security with local law enforcement forces. He said Brewer was right to worry and repeated a statement about kidnapping in Arizona. "She is seeing this, the fact that she's seeing the crime, she's seeing that her community is becoming the kidnap capital of the world."

Tapper interrupted him here to question that claim, and Bilbray responded, "Well, Tucson is supposed to be -- I mean, not in the world, but let's say the United States, a major issue here." Actually, some have posited that Phoenix, not Tucson, is the No. 2 city in the world for kidnapping. But our sister site PolitiFact Texas found nothing to support that claim, and people who insure against executive kidnapping said they did not consider Phoenix more dangerous than a number of cities in Honduras, Venezuela, Nigeria and the Philippines still outrank any American city. They found the statement about Phoenix as the No. 2 city for kidnapping to be False.

• Gutierrez, D-Ill., also said that "when I got to Congress, there were 5,000 Border Patrol agents. Today, we have 20,000 Border Patrol agents." That statement is likely true. We found in a recent fact-check that border patrol agents on the U.S.-Mexico border are at 17,057 agents now, up dramatically from 6,315 in 1997. We should note that total border patrol agents in all areas number approximately 21,000 today, and that Gutierrez took office in 1993.