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White House disputes Kyl’s account of border talk

The White House on Monday disputed a Republican senator’s claim that President Barack Obama refuses to secure the Mexican border until Congress agrees to a wide-ranging overhaul of immigration laws.

Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona told a Tea Party gathering in North Phoenix, Ariz., on Friday of his recent private meeting with Obama in the Oval Office. Kyl, the Senate’s second-ranking GOP leader, said he pressed Obama to secure the border against illegal immigrants.

Kyl told the group: “The problem is, he said, ‘If we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.’”

“They want to get something in return for doing their duty,” Kyl told the group.

The White House denied the account over the weekend, and Obama spokesman Bill Burton restated that position Monday when questioned by reporters.

“The president didn’t say that,” Burton said of Kyl’s account. “Sen. Kyl knows the president didn’t say that.”

Asked if Kyl was lying or indulging in “political exaggeration,” Burton replied: “I’ll let other folks make that determination.”

Obama has taken steps to improve border security, while also saying security must be part of a broader approach to immigration. He recently pledged to spend an additional $500 million on security and to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the border.

The White House website says Obama “believes that our broken immigration system can only be fixed by putting politics aside and offering a complete solution that secures our border, enforces our laws, and reaffirms our heritage as a nation of immigrants.”

Obama told CNN’s Larry King on June 3, “We’ve already put more resources into border security than we ever have.”

He added: “But without comprehensive immigration reform that is Congress’ responsibility we are not going to solve this problem, and that’s what we have to do.”

Kyl spokesman Ryan Patmintra said the senator stands by his remarks. He said the White House position “that we must have comprehensive immigration reform to secure the border only confirms Sen. Kyl’s account.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

5 comments

  1. Does anybody believe what our president says anymore.
    Obama has not spend more money on border security, he actually decreased funding.
    Another liberal lie to the citizens of the USA.

  2. If you blindly believe Kyl there is a bridge in New York you might be interested in purchasing…where have Kyl/McCain been on this for the decades they’ve been in office? Have yet to see any immigration legislation introduced by Kyl… what’s he waiting for if he’s so concerned?

  3. Note to Ron re: Facts instead of Rethuglican hyperbole:

    Over the past year and a half, this administration has pursued a new border-security strategy with an unprecedented sense of urgency. And despite the unfortunate misperceptions that continue to make their way into the public debate, the reality is we’ve actually achieved significant progress securing the border.

    You might not get this impression from those looking to score political points by saying the border is spinning out of control. But the numbers tell the accurate story – and they’re going in the right direction.

    Illegal crossings along the southwestern border last year were down 23 percent from the year before and are a fraction of their all-time high. Last year, seizures of contraband rose significantly across the board: Homeland Security seized 14 percent more illegal bulk cash, 29 percent more illegal weapons and 15 percent more illegal drugs than the year before. And, by all measurable standards, crime levels in U.S. border towns have actually remained flat or dropped for most of the past decade.

    We’re seeing these results because the U.S. government has devoted more resources – in terms of manpower, technology, infrastructure – to the southwestern border over the past 16 months than at any point in America’s history.

    The Border Patrol is better staffed today than ever before as we nearly doubled the number of agents from approximately 10,000 to more than 20,000 today. And we’ve deployed more U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel to work strategically on investigations, intelligence and interagency task forces to combat smuggling and human trafficking.

    We also have more scanning technology looking for smuggling shipments, and more airplanes, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles working the border than ever before.

    In terms of infrastructure, the 652 miles of fencing that Congress asked Homeland Security to build is nearly complete, with the next 6 miles expected by the end of the year.

    The federal government is also collaborating with state and local law enforcement along the border, conducting joint operations, sharing information and intelligence, and boosting the funds state and local law enforcement can use to combat border-related crime.

    On top of all that, this administration has partnered with the government of Mexico in ways that are simply unprecedented, allowing us to put more pressure on the Mexican drug-trafficking organizations that run smuggling operations into the United States.

    Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2010/06/03/20100603napolitano04.html#ixzz0rWqNjHRu

  4. Then, tell us Rob, what are your sources that indicate a reduction in spending on border security? I’d really like to know.

    Aren’t there more agents and resources there?

    And according to the FBI Uniform Crime Stats, serious crime is down in all categories, not only on the border, but many Southwestern cities from Texas to California.

  5. It is Kyl who should be defending himself instead of throwing blame. Our president has not had a bill to sign yet. Take in to consideration all the years past that there has not been a bill for any president to sign. This is not a partisan issue. Congress needs to take action, Kyl and McCain are the real suspects not our president.

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