Democrat Congressman’s Accusations Against GOP Reps on Border: Mostly False

Border Fence and Border Patrol Agents
AP Photo

Congressman John Yarmuth (D-KY) claimed two Texas Republican lawmakers said, “we would not know where to put more border guards right now.” He was referring to Representatives John Carter (R-TX) and Sam Johnson (R-TX). PunditFact has called Yarmuth’s remarks, “Mostly False.”

During a December 26th interview with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin, Yarmuth claimed the two Texas Reps. said they didn’t know where they would put more border guards. Johnson and Carter were both serving with Yarmuth on the House’s “gang of eight” during the immigration debate during 2013. They were attempting to find a bipartisan solution to the problem of illegal immigration.

The PunditFact research appeared in a Tampa Bay Times article by Katie Sanders. The issue came up after Melvin asked a group of panelists on The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balhart about the impact of immigration policy and federal funding of immigration enforcement. Melvin was serving as guest host on the January 5th broadcast. Melvin asserted the border was more secure under President Barack Obama than it was previously.

Melvin then said, “There have even been Republican congressmen who have said, ‘If you give us more money we don’t know where we would even put additional Border Patrol agents.’ Is that not accurate?”

PunditFact confirmed with Melvin that Yarmuth claimed Carter and Johnson made the statement. Yarmouth told Melvin, “Illegal border crossings are about half what they were before the Obama administration took over. We have as many Border Patrol people on guard as we can possibly need. I was part of the group of eight in the House, the bipartisan group that worked on immigration reform during the last Congress, and our Texas members basically said we would not know where to put more border guards right now.”

After reaching out to the Texas representatives, PunditFact was unable to confirm the comments. Yarmuth’s staff also did not provide any additional confirmation of the statement’s authenticity.

Breitbart Texas did receive a response from the office of Congressman Johnson. “Congressman Johnson did not say that,” Communications Director Adrienne Rimmer wrote in an email to this writer. She then forwarded a quote directly from the Representative.

“I have long been a staunch supporter of strong border security and strict enforcement of our Nation’s immigration laws,” Johnson stated. “As a Texan, this is an issue that is right in our own backyard. While I’ve been to the border many times, what I saw on the Congressional Delegation trip I led this past summer was a tragedy – one of the President’s own making. That is why standing up to the President’s illegal immigration actions has been, and will remain, one of my top priorities in 2015.”

“I have voted time and again to STOP his amnesty efforts, and I am fully committed to holding the President accountable for his actions,” Johnson explained. “The American people want, need, and deserve a President who respects the Constitution.”

Rimmer then provided an extensive list of recent actions taken by Johnson dealing with border security.

PunditFact did, however, determine that both Texas representatives have make public statements since that time calling for more border security and enforcement. In fact, both of the Reps. left the immigration policy group in September, 2013. In a joint press release, the two said they had a “lack of faith” in the Obama Administration’s enforcement approach. They stated they support the GOP approach that “starts with a genuinely secure border.”

PunditFact quoted an interview Congressman Carter had on the Fox Business Network in August, 2014. “We have to put resources on the border,” Carter said. “Fencing, experience along the Rio Grande, is a very difficult issue because that’s a very windy river, awfully hard to build. And remember, in Texas, we have private property that borders on our border in Texas. So all that fencing would have to be done on private property.

“We need to put the resources, the human resources, out there. I’m proud of our governor for sending our Texas Department of Public Safety down there, and a massive amount, and also, the willingness to use the Texas National Guard, both of which will assist an overwhelmed and very dedicated border patrol.”

Similarly, Congressman Johnson issued a border security statement in July, 2014. “As it is the responsibility of the federal government to secure our borders,” Johnson wrote, “Washington must do so now and send more border patrol agents to Texas. I will continue working to ensure Texas has the resources and manpower it needs to secure the border. It can and must be done.”

Breitbart Texas reached also out to the press office for Congressman Carter. No response has been received at this time. If the Congressman responds, Breitbart Texas will provide his statements in an update.

“Because of a lack of evidence, and the public comments of Carter and Johnson, we rate this claim Mostly False,” PunditFact ruled.

Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.


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