Think Tank Publicizes Questionable Immigration Data
As President Obama gears up for a major amnesty push, a think tank with singular influence over White House policy is publicizing somewhat questionable information, claiming the U.S. border is “safer than ever.”
The Center for American Progress, or CAP, a group highly influential in helping to craft Obama administration policy, released a briefing paper titled “The Facts on Immigration Today.” A section of the paper claimed, “Our borders are safer than ever.” As proof of that supposition, CAP related that 81 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border meets one of the top three levels of “operational control” by U.S. enforcement officials.
However, the paper failed to note that the Obama administration has delayed construction of the remainder of a proposed security fence along the 1,951-mile U.S.-Mexico border. The Homeland Security Department under President George W. Bush built 190 miles of pedestrian border fence and 154.3 miles of vehicle border fence – about one-fifth of the total length needed – mainly in New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Throughout the years there have been calls for a barrier along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. In 2006, President Bush supported a major upgrade in border security with calls for a network of fences, cameras, radar, and communications gear to help speed the response of U.S. Border Patrol officers.
Under Obama, however, the fence project was halted, with Homeland Security spending nearly $90 million on environmental analysis and mitigation measures it claims are aimed at blunting any adverse impact the fence could have on the environment.
Virtually every progressive plan for immigration and border reform calls for so-called environmental factors to determine the length and path of the border fence.
The 645-page Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 is considered the seminal progressive legislation on immigration reform. The bill contains detailed provisions that bar construction in areas in which the fence would impede “wildlife migration corridors, key habitats, and the ecologically functional connectivity between and among key habitats sufficient to ensure that species (whether or not designated as rare, protected, or of concern) remain viable.” Furthermore, the immigration reform bill is concerned with whether such unspecified species are “able to adapt to the impacts of climate change.”
In addition to its security claims, the CAP paper claims “undocumented immigration levels of Mexicans are at net zero.” As proof, CAP cites one Pew Hispanic Center study that found 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the U.S. from 2005 to 2010, while approximately 1.4 million Mexicans moved from the U.S. to Mexico during that same period of time.
CAP did not reveal, however, that the same study documented that 58 percent of an estimated 11.2 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. are from Mexico. The study found that 6.1 million Mexicans were living in the U.S. illegally as of 2011.
Even those numbers have been called into question. The number of estimated number of illegals varies widely and is the subject of considerable debate. A little over half a decade ago, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., shocked the public when he estimated – based on illegal immigrant apprehension statistics of the U.S. Border Patrol – that nearly 4 million people had crossed the U.S. border illegally in 2002 alone.
In September 2004, Time magazine put the illegal population somewhere around 11 million. An independent study of the underground economy by Wall Street firm Bear Stearns, released in January 2005, estimated 18 to 20 million illegal aliens in the United States.
The Question The Senate Forgot To Ask Hagel
Three years after the Fort Hood military base massacre by a radical Muslim soldier, it seems the Senate is not interested in the possibility of jihadist infiltration of the U.S. military. Instead, U.S. lawmakers apparently have deep concerns about American Muslim soldiers being harassed or even violently attacked by other enlistees because of the 2009 tragedy.
Last week, Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary, submitted his responses to an extensive questionnaire by the Senate Armed Services Committee probing his positions ahead of scheduled confirmation hearings. One section of the questionnaire, reviewed in full by this column, was titled “Muslims in the U.S. Military.” That section contained only the following two questions: