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CIS, Fox News Push Made Up ‘500 percent’ Statistic Ahead of Immigration Reform Bill

Domenic Powell • Apr 05, 2013

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.

Janice Kephart, National Security Fellow at Center for Immigration Studies

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?

The rush, Kephart explains, is on because of the looming pathway to citizenship for millions of people who’ve been kept out of the immigration system. While it’s a ridiculous proposition to begin with, a closer look reveals that it’s downright wrong. Fox News, for good measure, had the argument corroborated by an anonymous source in the border patrol

Keep these flimsy statistics in mind the next time the anti-immigrant movement demands another congressional hearing. Immigration reform doesn’t need to be delayed for Kephart, CIS, or anyone else to push bogus numbers.

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