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Tag: Arizona

The following is a fact-check of the June 27, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:


1) A police chief in Nogales, Arizona said that his police officers are being told they will be murdered by the Mexican drug cartels – TRUE

2) As a result of violence and the influence of the Mexican drug cartels, the government has installed signs in the southern part of Arizona warning people they are in a drug and human smuggling area – TRUE

SEN. McCAIN: Why is it that the police chief in Nogales reported that his police officers are being told they’re going to be murdered by the drug cartels on the other side of the border? The, the rise of violence and the influence of the drug cartels and the human smugglers have made our government put up signs in the southern part of the state of Arizona warning them that they are in a drug smuggling and human smuggling area of this country.

1) According to both CNN and ABC News, police officers from Nogales, Arizona were threatened by a Mexican drug cartel.  Informants told the police department that off-duty officers should ignore illegal drug drug shipments or face retaliation. Although, there is no specific indication that retaliation would include murdering the officers, it is reasonable to assume that that is what the threats were meant to imply. Thus, we rate Sen. McCain’s statement TRUE.

It is worth noting, however, that Sen. McCain made the statement to indicate the increasing danger in the area. While the Senator’s statement is TRUE in and of itself, included in the same CNN story referenced above was this point as well which we feel is relevant to the context of his overall point:

And while the region is a major drug corridor, Nogales has an extremely low crime rate. There has only been one murder in the past three years. By contrast, the police chief says, just across the border there have already been 126 drug-related murders this year.

One thing made clear in both articles, however, is that the violence on the other side of the border is significant, and often especially targets Mexican police officers. And again, there is no question the threatening of US police officers is a sign of escalation.

2) According to the Associated Press, signs have been placed along Interstate 8 in southern Arizona by the federal government to warn visitors to the Sonoran Desert National Monument that drug and human smuggling may be occurring south of the highway. Therefore, we rate Sen. McCain’s statement TRUE.

This sign is one of eight that were recently placed along Interstate 8 in southern Arizona by the federal government.

This fact-check took a combined 2 hours.

The following is a fact-check of the June 27, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ) | Phoenix, Arizona averages the second highest number of kidnappings in the world – FALSE

SEN. McCAIN: Not until we get the borders secure. By the way, on that issue, why is it that Phoenix, Arizona, is the number two kidnapping capital of the world? Does that mean our border’s safe?

Politifact already checked McCain’s assertion that Phoenix, Arizona is the number 2 kidnapping capital in the world. The key part of their check:

Neither the FBI nor the U.S. National Central Bureau of Interpol, an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice that serves as the United States’ representative to Interpol, could confirm that Phoenix has the second-highest frequency of kidnapping cases worldwide.

Phoenix has experienced hundreds of kidnappings over the past few years. However, we couldn’t find reliable around-the-planet evidence to confirm that only Mexico City experiences more of them. In fact, experts advise that such rankings can’t be made based on available information. If they could, they speculate, other cities would prove to have more kidnappings than Arizona’s capital.

After reviewing Politifact’s work, we agree. Therefore, we find Sen. McCain’s statement FALSE.

This fact-check took a combined 30 minutes.

The following is a fact-check of the May 16, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:

MIKE MURPHY | Violent crime in Arizona as a result of unauthorized immigration has increased during the Obama administrationFALSE

MIKE MURPHY | Obama administration has done nothingFALSE

MR. MURPHY: It’s a lawless frontier because of the failure of the Obama administration to protect the American border…

MR. GREGORY: Right. This goes back before Obama, though, to be fair.

MR. MURPHY: It–but it’s gotten, it’s gotten worse and worse…People are getting killed and murdered. It has become really bad in Arizona. It’s a crisis the Obama people have failed to address. They’ve had a year to do something, they’ve done nothing.

While Mr. Murphy does not cite any numbers to back his statement, whatever information he has based it on does not even remotely compare to the FBI’s national crime statistics. First off from 2005-2008, violent crime in Arizona decreased by 1,419 instances. The violent crime rate per population of 100,000 decreased from 513.2 to 447.0. Property crime, as another indicator, also decreased by 8,425 instances, or a rate per 100,000 of 4838.0 to 4291.0.

The preliminary results for the first six months of 2009, which is all the data that is available right now from the FBI, shows this trend continuing. In the first six months of 2008, a total of 10,182 violent crimes and 71,762 property crimes occurred in Arizona. In the first six months of 2009, a total of 9,062 violent crimes and 58,886 property crimes occurred. That is a drop of 1,120 violent crimes (-10.9%) and 12,867 property crimes (-17.9%). Unless there has been a remarkable and unlikely reversal of those trends since June 2009 (and there is no data we could find for that period to indicate so one way or the other) then Mr. Murphy’s statement can be labeled nothing but FALSE.

FBI 2005 Crime Statistics
FBI 2008 Crime Statistics
FBI Preliminary 2009 Crime Statisics
Crime stats test rationale behind Arizona immigration law (CNN) analysis of similar statement

With regards to the Obama administration doing “nothing” in their first year with regarding what we assume Mr. Murphy means to be Arizona border security. This more or less came up on the 5/2 Meet the Press in statements made by Rep. Mike Pence. Politifact tackled his statement that Obama/Democratic Congress “have been systematically cutting funding to border security since the Democrats took control.” and labeled it FALSE. From their analysis, which we agree with:

In 2007, discretionary spending on border security was $6.3 billion. As Pence noted, that was the last year of full Republican control. After that, while George W. Bush remained in the presidency, Congress was controlled by Democrats. But discretionary spending on border security continued to rise year after year. It went to $7.9 billion in 2008; to $9.8 billion in 2009; and to $10.1 billion in fiscal year 2010.


So Pence is correct that border fence budgets have been trimmed since 2007. But Pence repeatedly said that funding for border security has been steadily cut by Democrats since 2007. And as we noted earlier, spending on border security has actually risen steadily. That’s because Obama has focused more funding in other border security areas, such as increasing the number of border patrol officers.

The 2011 proposed budget, for example, includes $94 million to expand the number of Customs and Border Patrol officers — putting the country on target to reach Bush’s goal of 20,000 officers. Between 2007 and 2011, the Border Patrol budget increased from $2.3 billion to $3.6 billion. The budget for inspections at ports of entry increased from $1.8 billion in 2007 to $2.9 billion in 2011. In addition, Obama’s proposed 2011 budget calls for $1.6 billion for customs enforcement programs to identify and remove illegal aliens who commit crimes; and $137 million to expand immigration-related verification programs.

It’s worth reading their analysis in full.

So looking at spending, which seems to be the best way to gauge the level of action by the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress, Mr. Murphy is FALSE when asserting that they have done “nothing” with regards to Arizona border security.

Special thanks to crowd-sourcer Kelly for assisting with this fact-check.

This fact-check took a combined 3 hours.

FACT-CHECK: Rep. Mike Pence on AZ Immigration Stats

Rep. Mike Pence (R – IN) | Arizona Immigration/Crime Stats | TRUE

From the 5/2/2010 transcript:

REP. PENCE: Well, well, let, let’s be clear for a second. This is no laughing matter for the people of Arizona who are–have been profoundly affected by the fact that there’s nearly a half a million illegal immigrants and, and a rampant drug trade and, and, and human trafficking trade that’s been besetting. Phoenix, Arizona, is, is the kidnapping capital of the United States of America.

According to a 2009 report from the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2008 the estimated number of unauthorized immigrants in Arizona was between 475,000 to 550,000 (6th highest in America among states). While we were unable to find a government report with official numbers to back it up, last year both ABC News and the LA Times reported that in 2008 Arizona had the highest number of kidnappings in America. Both articles indicate the high rate is due primarily to the activity of drug cartels.  Therefore we rate both of these facts from Rep. Pence as TRUE.

Special thanks to Jonah and Scott for contributing work on this fact-check.