Trump’s Border Patrol claims that there’s been a 73% rise in assaults against border agents. It turns out they totally faked those stats.
It was reported last November that two U.S. Border Patrol agents were attacked with rocks in West Texas. The agents were found injured and unconscious. Agent Rogelio Martinez later died from his injuries.
Donald Trump and right-wing media went crazy over this story. They used it to attack immigrants and justify Trump’s stupid wall.
But it turned out that the agent was not killed by undocumented immigrants, as Trump claimed. It was determined by the FBI that he was killed from an accidental fall.
The number of undocumented immigrants apprehended at the border has dropped. Yet Border Patrol is claiming that assaults against Border Patrol agents has drastically increased. The statistics they’ve put out don’t make sense. They don’t make sense because they’re not true.
The Intercept reported on Monday,
“According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, assaults on Border Patrol officers increased dramatically in fiscal year 2016, reversing a long downward trend. That year, CBP claims, there were 454 assaults on agents nationwide, compared with 378 in fiscal year 2015, a 20 percent increase. The increase from 2016 to 2017 was even more surprising. In 2017, according to CBP, there were 786 assaults, a spike of 73 percent, even as apprehensions fell from 415,816 to 310,532.”
The Intercept points out that almost the entire increase, 271 assaults, occurred in one sector, the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. And they supposedly happened on one single day. Customs and Border Protections spokesperson Christiana Coleman told the Intercept that “an incident in the Rio Grande Valley Sector on February 14, 2017, involved seven U.S. Border Patrol Agents assaulted by six subjects utilizing three different types of projectiles (rocks, bottles, and tree branches), totaling 126 assaults.”
“According to conventional law enforcement accounting, this single incident should have been tallied as seven agents assaulted — not seven agents times six perpetrators times three projectiles. Subtracting the seven agents from 126 leaves 119 extra “assaults” that falsely and grossly inflate the data, making it appear to the public that far more agents were assaulted.”
The Border Patrol is counting all sorts of things as “assaults,” including when rocks or water bottles are thrown but never hit anyone. “The mere brandishing of an object constitutes assault.”
“In addition to this one instance of clear inflation admitted to The Intercept, data from the Rio Grande Valley indicate 98 additional events in 2017, and several of these also appear to be padded. In almost all other Border Patrol sectors, a review of aggregate statistics for 2017 shows that the average number of assaults per incident is one, or at most two. But in the Rio Grande Valley, the average is about four assaults per incident. In all, the Rio Grande Valley contributed over 300 suspicious-looking “assaults” to CBP’s 2017 database, creating the illusion that agents were suddenly being assailed that year.”
As the Intercept points out,
“With no public discussion, the agency apparently veered sharply from traditional reporting practices to a new system that counts the number of agents assaulted during an incident, then multiplies that figure by the number of perpetrators and the weapons used, thus neatly reversing the downward trend on the number of assaults.”
They are basically lying. Their jobs have actually gotten safer. But they are faking statistics to show that there is a significant increase in the danger. And all of this is to justify Trump’s wall.
“Rather than a picture of increasing violence against Border Patrol agents, what emerges from the FBI’s data is that the Border Patrol’s job has never been safer. The decrease was so significant that by 2016, according to FBI statistics, Border Patrol agents were about five times less likely to be assaulted than officers in local police departments — and only half as likely to be killed on the job by homicide or by accident. As the Cato Institute observed in November, “Regular Americans are more than twice as likely to be murdered in any year from 2003 through 2017 than Border Patrol agents were.” But even as Border Patrol work was getting safer, the agency began manipulating its data to claim increasing danger and advance a political agenda.”