CIS’ Newest Lie About 500% Increase in Border Apprehensions Makes FOX News

Apr 5, 2013
3:40 PM

A few things about the Center for Immigration Studies before we use actual statistics from the US Border Patrol to easily refute the claim that the United States southwest border has seen a 500% increase in border apprehensions. We all know where the CIS stands on comprehensive immigration reform: they are not non-partisan (just see CIS Director Mark Kirkorian’s Twitter stream), they DO get government funding (read their About section: “Our research and analysis has been funded by contributions and grants from dozens of private foundations, from the U.S. Census Bureau and Justice Department, and from hundreds of generous individual donors.”), and they are desperate since their biggest single issue —stopping immigration in the United States— is losing the political battle.

They are also one of the biggest myth-makers and perpetuators of nativist fear when it comes to immigration.


So in light of all this, desperate times call for desperate measures, and when you have FOX News on your side, you do your best to share those lies. Fortunately for this country, many are seeing right through the CIS’ xenophobic charade, like a post today from Imagine 2050:

Fox News and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) are peddling flimsy or downright false statistics in hopes of sabotaging immigration reform. CIS’s “five-hundred percent surge” doesn’t hold up to even a little scrutiny.

“We’ve seen a 500 percent surge in the amount of activity from August to December of last year,” Janice Kephart said to Fox News. After using a throwaway term like “activity,” (which could be construed to mean anything, or in this case, nothing) CIS and Fox juxtaposed the 500 percent stat with numbers obtained from Border Patrol, which counted 29,296 more apprehensions in 2012 than in 2011.
That’s only an 8.9 percent increase in apprehensions, not anywhere near 500 percent. When placed together, you’d think one corroborated the other, when in fact, they’re contradictory.

Just who are CIS’s eyes and ears on the border? Last month, CIS posted a blog also using the 500 percent figure. John Wahala, the assistant director of CIS writes: “A group of ranchers who manage game lands about 70 miles from the border told us that they have seen a 500 percent increase in illegal-alien traffic since last summer.”

So that’s where CIS gets their numbers from: a group of ranchers. Are these a bunch of cowboys with clipboards, counting the immigrants as they run by? Do they have any actual numbers on this at all?

To answer Imagine 2050’s question: No, the ranches don’t have the numbers and neither do CIS or FOX News. You would think that using actual Border Patrol statistics would have been the way to go. In case CIS doesn’t have access to these public documents that can be found via Google in a span of two seconds, here are the facts:


In case you don’t want to read the details of the facts, some things to note:

  • Total apprehensions change between 2011 and 2012: 7.2% increase
  • Total Southwest border apprehensions between 2011 and 2012: 8.9%
  • Total apprehensions change between 2000 and 2012: 80% decrease
  • Total Southwest border apprehensions between 2000 and 2012: 79% decrease
  • Border crossing apprehensions have decreased from 2011 to 2012 in El Centro, El Paso, San Diego, Tucson. The biggest single increase in 2012 was in the Rio Grande Valley, which saw a 60% increase. Laredo is next with a 20% increase and Del Rio with a 16% increase.

CIS claims to be a research organization, but we guess they actually don’t do any factual research. Use the facts and not the fear. Thanks.