SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ) | There are 12 million unauthorized immigrants in America. – TRUE
SEN. MENENDEZ: And I’ve said to–you know, I’ve mentioned various times that the governor of Arizona should speak to her two U.S. senators and to her Republican colleagues in the Senate to make sure that they join us in an effort to make sure we control the borders and, at the same, time deal with the 12 million people in this country.
We fact-checked a similar statement from Senator Shelby on the 4/25/2010 Meet the Press. According to a Department of Homeland Security report released in February, as of 2009 the population of unauthorized immigrants in the United States was 10.8 million, while an April 2009 Pew Hispanic Center report indicated the number was then 11.9 million. Though his number may be a little bit high, we rate Sen. Menendez’s statement TRUE.
This fact-check took 10 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 administration – FALSE
MIKE MURPHY | Obama administration has done nothing – FALSE
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.
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.
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.
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.