White House insists 'border security is stronger than it ever has been'
The White House is channeling Kevin Bacon from "Animal House" these days, insisting that "All is well. Remain Calm!" when it comes to border security.
Of course, Bacon was subsequently trampled by a rampaging mob - sort of like the situation on our southern border right now except that Bluto is dead and Otter is nowhere to be found..
Under the heading “border security” on the White House website's section on President Obama's immigration proposal, the whitehouse.gov website gives the president credit for having "doubled the number of Border Patrol agents," saying "today border security is stronger than it ever has been."
The White House says the statement is true despite the estimated 52,000 unattended children who have crossed the southwest border so far this year and the roughly 90,000 expected by fall.
“Looking at the overall picture of the border, the Border Patrol is better staffed today than at any time in history,” White House deputy press secretary Shawn Turner told the Washington Examiner.
“We've doubled the number of agents nationwide ... more agents providing more eyes across the border. If you look at the boots on the ground on the Southwest border, there's been a 95 percent increase since 2004.”
Critics argue that the first part of the White House website statement — that Obama is responsible for doubling the number of Border Patrol agents — is inaccurate because President George W. Bush is responsible for the majority of the sharp increase in border patrol agents over the last 10 years.
There are a total of 20,979 Border Patrol agents right now — not all of whom are deployed to the border, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. In 2008, the last year of Bush's presidency, there were 17,499 Border Patrol agents.
But the second part of the claim — that border security is stronger than ever — is fomenting a pitched debate with advocates for stronger border security arguing the claim is laughable in light of the current crisis and Obama supporters pointing to a slew of statistics they say backs it up.
“The White House continues to insist the border is secure in the midst of a massive humanitarian crisis -- what planet are they living on?” said Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
What does staffing the border have to do with the actual security situation? You could have twice as many border patrol agents than you do now and still have a pourous border.
More agents certainly wouldn't affect the current flood of illegal kids, who turn themselves in to the border patrol the first chance they get. Nor would more agents necessarily mean discovering the tunnels used by smugglers to get people across.
Fencing, electronic suveillance, remote cameras -- all of these are well and good but unless there is the will behind them to take border security seriously, it doesn't mean anything. The Obama administration's insistence that the borders have never been so secure is a talking point and has nothing whatsoever to do with the reality on the ground.