Today President Bush toured a section of U.S.-Mexico border near Yuma Arizona. He took the opportunity to tout his guest worker initiative and to hail the Border Patrol’s “amazing progress” in “deterring people from attempting illegal border crossings.”
He cited a decrease in illegal immigrant apprehensions as evidence of their recent successes. “When you apprehended fewer people, that means fewer were trying to come across,” Bush said. “And fewer were trying to come across because we’re deterring people from attempting illegal border crossings in the first place.” Watch it:
But just over 18 months ago, Bush cited a 42-percent increase in apprehensions as one of the Border Patrol’s “best examples of success”:
Our actions to integrate manpower, technology and infrastructure are getting results. And one of the best examples of success is the Arizona Border Control Initiative, which the government launched in 2004. In the first year of this initiative — now, listen to this, listen how hard these people are working here — agents in Arizona apprehended nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants, a 42-percent increase over the previous year.
Bush’s new view of apprehensions comes with a new, more hard-line conservative approach to immigration “devised after weeks of closed-door meetings with Republican senators.”
[A] month before Operation Jump Start, an average of more than 400 people a day were apprehended trying to cross here. The number has dropped to fewer than 140 a day.
In other words, one way that the Border Patrol can tell whether or not we’re making progress is the number of apprehensions.
When you apprehended fewer people, that means fewer were trying to come across. And fewer were trying to come across because we’re deterring people from attempting illegal border crossings in the first place.