Fact-checking GOP candidates’ statements on border issues

PHOENIX – Last night’s main Republican presidential debate covered a wide range of issues including immigration and border enforcement. Cronkite News checked the facts behind some of the candidates’ statements.

“Now what we need to do is look at something that actually works: Yuma County, Arizona. They stop 97 percent of the illegal immigrants through there.” – Ben Carson

Carson did not refer to a time frame, but the most recent statistics do not reflect as significant a decline. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, agents in the Yuma Sector apprehended 5,902 people in 2014, down from 6,106 in 2013. That is not a 97 percent decrease. According the U.S. Border Patrol, the Yuma Sector was manned by 859 agents as of 2014. The sector is 126 miles long and passes through Pima County to the Imperial Sand Dunes in California.

“… Mexico and almost every other country anywhere in the world doesn’t have that (birthright citizenship). We’re the only ones dumb enough, stupid enough, to have it.”- Donald Trump

Mexico and most of Latin America do grant birthright citizenship. Although many countries do not have it, 33 countries do. The United States and Canada are the only nations classified by the United Nations as being “developed” on the list. Eight countries used to have birthright citizenship but have since repealed it: Austraila, New Zealand, Ireland, France, India, Malta, the United Kingdom and Portugal, according to NumbersUSA, a political group that favors limiting immigration.

“President Obama campaigned in 2007 and 2008 on solving the immigration problem. He entered Washington with majorities in the House and Senate. He could have chosen to do anything to solve this problem. Instead, he chose to do nothing. Why? Because the Democrats don’t want this issue solved.”- Carly Fiorina

“The Obama administration has dedicated an unprecedented amount of resources to securing the border and combating the flows of drugs, weapons and cash on the borders,” according to a 2010 White House statement.

Obama signed the Southwest Border Security Bill (2010) authorizing “$600 million in supplemental funds for enhanced border protection and law enforcement, deployment of National Guardsmen to the border and additional support for Mexican law enforcement analysis. Obama’s administration has deported about 2 million people more than any previous president.

Neither Obama, President George W. Bush nor any president since Ronald Reagan has been able to garner enough support in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 granted “amnesty” to 2.7 million and created “employer sanctions” for companies that hire undocumented workers.