Not a Mystery: Border Figures Posted, Removed Month Before Election

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Staggering statistics that show nearly a half-million people were caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally — and more than half were not Mexican, a number far higher than in 2013 — reportedly were posted on a U.S. government website for just a few hours last month before being taken down.

According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, the numbers were posted on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website on Oct. 10 for roughly five hours. The dramatic numbers raised questions over whether they were yanked to protect the administration before key midterm elections.

“According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, the stats showed about 53 percent of the migrants, or 253,000, caught at the U.S.-Mexico border this year were not Mexican — a number far higher than in 2013. A decade ago, fewer than 10 percent were from countries other than Mexico.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told the Center he’s worried “they may have been taken down for purely political reasons.”

“If the information is ready it should be made available. The idea that it was and then yanked down for political reasons is outrageous,” he said.

“This year, some of CBP’s data was posted on the website prematurely and removed later that day. One of the statistics released was the number of Southwest border apprehensions by the Border Patrol, which was 479,371.”

— CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske

The numbers could have become a political football less than a month before the elections. They emphasize the challenge still facing U.S. border agents — the reported number of apprehensions is larger than the population of major U.S. cities including Atlanta, Miami and New Orleans. The number has dropped from even higher levels a decade ago, but the flow is staying strong, even as a virtual army of border agents numbering close to 20,000 remains posted, to catch them.

The stats also point to a startling shift, with more and more border crossers coming from other countries. It is already well-known that illegal immigrant children from Central America have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, but some lawmakers also have suggested the border could be a crossing for Middle East extremists. Read the rest of this entry »