Share

Policy: Law

Is the White House backing away from its border-security claim?

By |
Politics,White House,Immigration,Barack Obama,National Security,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Border Security,Josh Earnest,Law

The White House appears to be backing away from its claim that the border remains secure in the face of the spiraling border crisis in Texas.

Last week, the White House told the Washington Examiner it stands by a statement on its website claiming that border security is at its strongest in history and that President Obama is responsible for bolstering it to that level.

“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 said.

“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.”

But White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday pointedly avoided saying the border is secure right now in response to repeated questions from a Fox News reporter asking him if it is.

“There are more resources dedicated to security the border right now” than ever before, Earnest said, calling it an “historic investment.”

While avoiding saying that the border is secure right now, Earnest took the opportunity to accuse Republicans of "playing politics with a very serious situation" by calling for more border security while blocking comprehensive immigration reform, which includes more resources to increase the number of border patrol agents and strengthen the border.

"They're saying it's not secure and blocking a piece of legislation that would actually make a historic investment in border security. I'm saying that is a deplorable act of playing politics with a very serious situation," he said.

"The position of this administration is that we have made an important investment in securing the border. There are more resources there now and have been put there under the president's watch than at any time in our history."

The Fox News reporter then interjected: "Getting more secure, you say, but not secure enough?"

"The president is certainly supportive of additional security being added to the border, right?" Earnest responded. "That's why the president -- again, there are a whole host of reasons to support comprehensive immigration reform. A historic investment in border security is one of them. It's one of the reasons the president strongly supports it."

A statement on the White House website's section on Obama's immigration proposal gives the president credit for having “doubled the number of Border Patrol agents” and says “today the border security is stronger than it ever has been.”

The White House last week said the statement was 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.

Despite the website claim, the number of border patrol agents has doubled since 2004, which included four years of President George W. Bush's time in office. Bush is responsible for bolstering the number of agents from 10,000 to 17,499, while Obama is responsible for pushing that number to 20,979, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.

View article comments Leave a comment

More from washingtonexaminer.com