Rep. Gohmert Makes Up Border Security Facts

November 30, 2011 1:07 pm ET — Kate Conway

Last night, asked by Fox Business host Eric Bolling to comment on Arizona lawmakers' solicitation of donations to build a border fence, immigrant-fearing Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) claimed that "this administration's cut the amount of spending in half or so for border control."

GOHMERT: Unfortunately you have an administration whose ingenuity is not only will we not enforce the border but we're going sue, we're going to take whatever action necessary to stop anybody else from doing our job. That's this administration's approach. And of course my dear friend Steve King, he's been in construction, he can do it. Heck, I've dug footing for walls. I imagine you could get a lot of volunteer labor when the federal government is not doing its job. But let's be fair. Even though this administration's cut the amount of spending in half or so for border control, they were able to use a bunch of that money to help their friends who want do solar projects like Solyndra and others.

Gohmert's claim was bolstered by Bolling, who flashed up on the screen funding levels for border security fencing, infrastructure and technology. Indeed, those numbers have dropped from a high of $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2008 to $573 million for 2011. But that's not representative of the larger trends, and it's just a tiny piece of billions the Obama administration has spent annually on overall border security.

Gohmert (and Bolling) are cherry picking a piece of border security funding that suggests the opposite of what's going on in the larger picture. Overall, spending on border protection and immigration enforcement has risen since the Bush administration. Here's a chart put together by America's Voice, an immigration reform group:

Spending on immigration enforcement

On top of that, the Obama administration has doubled the number of border patrol agents since 2004, and attempted border crossings have declined during Obama's tenure.

The reason there's been a drop in funding for fencing, infrastructure and technology is that the virtual fence program wasn't delivering; it was plagued by "cost overruns" and had turned up little progress despite millions of dollars being poured into it.

Gohmert finished his comment by addressing some of the arguments against a border fence:

GOHMERT: You got people that say this is like the Iron Curtain. No, the Iron Curtain kept people in. We're trying to control the flow of people in. Some people say it's anti-Hispanic. Are you kidding? I think the Hispanic people could be our salvation. They love God, generally speaking. They love family, they're hard-working. But there has to be some sanity to the people that are coming in. We also know we got people coming in that want to destroy us.

Watch after the jump.

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