Is Obama holding border security hostage to politics? UPDATED (again)

That is the very serious charge made by Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl at a town-hall meeting Friday. It’s a very serious charge because, as Kyl points out, securing the border is not an optional duty for the president of the United States.

Here’s the clip, with the relevant remarks beginning at the 3:17 mark:

And here’s a (very) partial transcript:

KYL: I met with the president in the Oval Office, just the two of us …. Here’s what the president said. The problem is, he said, if we secure the border, then you all [Republicans] won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform. (Audible gasps from audience.) In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They won’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform.

As you can hear an audience member say in the background, “comprehensive immigration reform” in this case most likely means some form of amnesty.

As of this morning, the White House had not yet commented on Kyl’s statement. UPDATE: The White House now says the president didn’t make such a statement, and that “Senator Kyl knows it.” Now it’s Kyl’s turn: Will he back down or maintain his story? It seems unlikely to me that a senator with his experience would be dumb enough to invent such a statement out of thin air and attribute it directly to the president.

SECOND UPDATE: Reports FoxNews.com:

Kyl’s sticking by his account of the one-on-one meeting with Obama. Ryan Patmintra, Kyl’s spokesman, said this:

“There were two people in that meeting, and [White House Communications Director] Dan Pfeiffer was not one of them. Senator Kyl stands by his remarks, and the White House spokesman’s push-back that you must have comprehensive immigration reform to secure the border only confirms Senator Kyl’s account.”

(H/t: RedState)

197 comments Add your comment

Kyle the hypocrite

June 21st, 2010
10:49 am

So Kyle the hypocrite, who talks about needing more “courageous” ideas than funding, won’t comment on how his own courage is suddenly found wanting when he won’t talk about the multi-million dollar E-Rate bidding scandal in APS, a scandal that was on the very front page of his paper?

So Kyle the hypocrite, who CLAIMS to espouse “personal responsibility” and “the rule of law” won’t talk about why, when he calls for “solutions” in education, he doesn’t say a SINGLE word in support of giving teachers the AUTHORITY to hold students accountable for the “rule of law” of expected behaviors or “personal responsibility” as far as grades?

How is Kyle’s behavior any different than the liberals he claims to oppose?

Van Jones

June 21st, 2010
10:51 am

Somebody has her panties in a knot this morning…

Morrus

June 21st, 2010
10:53 am

Curiously, in a supposed anti-incumbent year, most of the departing are not retiring but seeking higher office. We may recycle more than we replace. The bad news is that a frustrating 114 seats still have but one contestant. Two of them aren’t even incumbents, meaning they will affect state policy without being vetted by voters. And I have to think that we’d be better off if many had run instead for the Legislature — and cut down on the number running unopposed. Georgia’s problems are numerous. They aren’t going away. There’s too much stale thinking at the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle. New voices would be welcome.

oldtimer

June 21st, 2010
10:53 am

They have not responded…because there is no response. Security obviously is not the biggest concern of this administration.

Kyle the hypocrite

June 21st, 2010
10:53 am

Van, why don’t you explain to us why Kyle isn’t a hypocrite, instead of making excuses for him.

Richard

June 21st, 2010
10:56 am

“Kyle the hypocrite” writer … care to expand and enlighten us on your charges? I’m curious. Also, I’m not sure of what publication “his paper” refers. If you’re referring to the Arizona Republic, do you mean that the Republic is friendly to Kyle, or merely that it is Arizona’s largest daily? I’m assuming it’s the latter, as the Republic is anything but friendly to any conservative.

LibraryJim

June 21st, 2010
10:59 am

“none dare call it treason”…..

But that’s what it is, if he refuses to secure the boarders and guarantee the safety of the country.

TehranDawg

June 21st, 2010
11:01 am

Republicans had the chance to reform immigration, and what happened? Nothing. Did nothing for 8 years but cut taxes and start wars, but want to complain about how to solve the problems they failed to solve. Where was Kyl @ when repubs were in the majority?

Kyle Wingfield

June 21st, 2010
11:05 am

Hypocrite: Since you insist on bringing this up time and again…the E-Rate bidding scandal was reported by this newspaper, as have been a number of other APS problems: the CRCT cheating, the unduly high travel expenses of APS, etc. I’m not sure why you think I personally need to comment on each instance, although I have commented on the CRCT cheating.

I’m not sure why not writing about your priorities makes me some kind of hypocrite.

Major Dan

June 21st, 2010
11:06 am

Maybe to qoute GW, “It’s hard work” being the President and problem-solving tough issues, if the past administration couldn’t solve this issue why should we expect this administration to be any different.

CJ

June 21st, 2010
11:06 am

The notion that the minority party (Republicans) should get 100 percent of the legislation that they want, but the majority party (Democrats) should get 0 percent of the legislation that they want strikes me as bazaar.

To be clear, the reason that we haven’t had immigration reform yet is because the Republicans didn’t do anything, including securing the border, when when they led the Congress, they wouldn’t allow an up or down vote on it when Dems were in charge (Bush was still President), and they won’t allow an up or down vote on it now.

Complaining about securing the border now when they did absolutely nothing about illegal immigration when they had the opportunity—except to look the other way so that employers could drive down wages and exploit workers—is yet another demonstration that Republicans can’t be trusted.

Kyle Wingfield

June 21st, 2010
11:12 am

CJ and Major Dan: It is one thing to fail at an essential task. It is quite another to admit that you aren’t even trying to succeed at it because doing so would make it harder to achieve one of your political goals.

Surely y’all can see the difference.

Egg on mobamas face want wash off.

June 21st, 2010
11:20 am

The president should be took out of office and any one in washington that does not uphold the contiyution should be run out of office.

joe

June 21st, 2010
11:23 am

I admit when we had a GOP Pres and congress, they didn’t do squat about the border issue and that’s on them. However, seems it wasn’t quite as big of an issue as it has snowballed into today. Maybe the number crossing were smaller (up until recently as I know the overall numbers have dropped, but that is do to our bad economy, not increased border security).

But now that we have a Dem Pres and congress, now border security falls on them. This will be the #1 issue for me come Nov and 2012. Whoever campaigns on securing our borders gets my vote no matter which party. Our current financial position cannot continue to support giving food, clothing, shelter and education to illegals. Our nation is broke and we need to fix it…starting with securing the border, then deporting those who don’t belong here or came here illegally. After that, we can then develop some sort of legal immigration policy, but not until the borders are secure. THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN FIRST.

StJ

June 21st, 2010
11:23 am

So much for honesty and transparency.

Change you can step in, or fertilize your plants with.

CJ

June 21st, 2010
11:23 am

Kyle,

First, Obama is trying to succeed with what you call an “essential task” (I don’t agree). But he wants much more.

Second, given their history, there’s no reason to believe Republicans when they say they want increased security. Their action (or inaction, as the case may be) speaks louder than their pandering.

Incidentally, illegal immigration isn’t a supply-side problem; it’s a demand side problem. Go after illegal employers by making it more costly to hire illegals than it would be to comply with wage and labor laws, then the problem of illegal immigration will, by and large, work itself out.

Kyle the hypocrite

June 21st, 2010
11:24 am

I’m not writing about MY priorities Kyle; I’m writing about your CLAIMED priorities.

This isn’t about what the REPORTERS have done; it’s about what you HAVEN’T done.

How can you CLAIM to support “the rule of law” and “personal responsibility” and not say a SINGLE word about giving teachers the AUTHORITY to enforce either? At least Wooten is CONSISTENT when he talks about education issues, and advocates giving teachers that authority.

How can you CLAIM to decry waste and corruption in government, yet you ignore waste and corruption in YOUR OWN BACKYARD? How is that consistent with your principles?

You talk about your principles, but when it comes to showing the “political courage” you asked for in your column, your goes wanting when it comes to talking about waste, fraud, and potential criminal activity in APS. And if it’s the lead story in your own paper, and it’s a REPEAT of past criminal behavior in APS, then give us a compelling reason why it ISN’T a priority of yours.

Steve

June 21st, 2010
11:27 am

The Obama administration consistently do not act on issues when they have an agenda.
1) They wanted healthcare reform. Rather than attack unemployment as their top priority when taking office, they address other items. They need people to stay unemployed so they can try to build public support for Obamacare. They don’t build public support, but pass Obamacare through back door deals anyway.
2) When the gulf oil spill began, Gov Jindal and others begged for skimming equipment to start removing the oil from the water. Other countries offered to loan their skimming equipment, but the Obama administration did nothing. I’m not surprised Obama is now using the spill to try to revive Cap & Trade legislation again.
3) Obama will not secure our borders (numerous others are also guilty of this) because his agenda is to grant amnesty for the illegals here.

Kyle Wingfield

June 21st, 2010
11:29 am

Hypocrite: If you look hard enough, you might even find other examples of waste and fraud that I haven’t personally mentioned!

Btw, I haven’t written my last column.

Roger Rabbit

June 21st, 2010
11:30 am

Mr. Wingfield, you are making quite a leap of faith with your last comment. There is no evidence, other than Kyl’s saying it happened. How convenient that he “kicked everyone out” before discussing it.

In your 11:12 comment you are implying that Kyl’s comment is 100% true.

Surely you can see the difference between Obama saying something and SOMEONE SAYING Obama said something.

Kyle Wingfield

June 21st, 2010
11:35 am

Rabbit: I am interested to see how the WH will respond.

Kyle the hypocrite

June 21st, 2010
11:44 am

Kyle, in regard to “Btw, I haven’t written my last column.”

After this response, I’ll let it go for now.

But for your NEXT column that focuses in on how to reform education, let’s remember if you REALLY want to educate students in how to succeed, let’s not forget to mention the core principles of “the rule of law” and “personal responsibility” and advocating that teachers be given the AUTHORITY, to hold students responsible for both.

In the meantime, if you want vouchers, charter schools, tax credits or other methods of choice that will create enough pressure, in the form of a mass exodus, that the public schools will FINALLY have to respond to the issue, that is fine as well. They may have their limitations, but if they help slay the monolith that has become public education, they are worth it.

We expect most liberals to be spineless when it comes to holding students accountable for behavior; they want students to grow up dependent on the nanny state.

We don’t expect it from conservatives, though it might be their biggest failing that, other than Jim Wooten, few if any have discussed it.

NEXT education column Kyle, we WILL be looking for you to address it!

Dusty

June 21st, 2010
11:46 am

Soooo,

Bush DID encrease the Border patrol. He saw the need. At that time, there was no area in Arizona and California that Americans were NOT allowed to viisit for fear of criminal elements. But Bush saw what was happening..

Of course, the senator from Arizona is amazed. Obama has said quite clearly that he is not approving more enforcement to the border unless Congress will approve his ideas for a bill which mosty permits amnesty for all illegals. It is a ransom bill. Either you pay up (vote) for amnesty or there will be no increased border protection. THAT while eighty miles of American land are controlled by criminals from another country..

Of course Sen. Kyle (R-AZ) is shocked. Of course Kyle sees the political criminality here. Of course anyone who cares about this country is apprehensive.

May we never get so politically bound that we lose concern for invaders in our country. It’s a death wish.for the USA..

jconservative

June 21st, 2010
11:50 am

“…securing the border is not an optional duty for the president of the United States.”

I would disagree. We have had 44 straight presidents who failed, or did not attempt, to secure the US borders. I would say that for the past 221 years securing the borders has been a very low priority.

Of course the secure border issue will be held captive to political considerations. Kennedy – McCain would have passed but for political considerations. All issues are politically/special interest driven.
The border is no different.

And if Sen. Jon Kyl is truly concerned about the “insecure” US borders all he has to do is introduce a bill that both secures the border and provides comprehensive immigration reform. But he will not as he is holding the border security issue hostage to his dislike for comprehensive immigration reform.

Wingfield what would be the effect on the US economy of driving 20 million workers out of the country? Just asking.

joan1

June 21st, 2010
11:54 am

I would not be surprised if Obama actually was withholding securing the borders to get his political agenda pushed through. He stood back and has let the oil damage be worse than it needed to have been if he had taken the help offered, or sent in ships and men earlier, just so he could collect “damages” later, and get his cap and tax program off the ground. He is like the man who watches his house burn down, rather than put out the fire if he can, so he can then collect the insurance. God forbid we do damage control sooner because then we won’t have the “emergency” required to muscle through his bills. Thank heaven he couldn’t withhold health care to get that agenda through. Unfortunately it went through anyway due to lots of muscling.

Cause and effect

June 21st, 2010
11:55 am

“Wingfield what would be the effect on the US economy of driving 20 million workers out of the country? Just asking.”

Maybe unemployment would go down? Maybe wages would go up for people who build houses, as they could no longer be undercut by employers willing to hire illegal workers they know they can get away with paying less to?

Dusty

June 21st, 2010
12:01 pm

Kyle, the Hypocrit.

If you cannot discuss the subject of this blog, there are other venues for you to access. Call yourself Rude & Disgusted Schoolteacher or something. That would be more honest. Some of us believe that protecting this country is of prime importance.

Kyle the hypocrite

June 21st, 2010
12:11 pm

Dusty try to keep up. I already stated my peace, as well as making it clear in my last post that I already stated my peace on the subject for now.

If the issue had been addressed by Kyle on the last blog, I wouldn’t have asked him to address it here.

Now Dusty, NEXT time he writes a blog devoted to public education, you can explain to us why, in a state that had over ONE MILLION discipline incidents in a single year, that giving teachers the authority to enforce “personal responsibility” and the “rule of law” in the classroom so that children who show respect for both can learn unimpeded, isn’t of “prime importance”

In the meantime, try to stick to the topic at hand.

Sandra

June 21st, 2010
12:20 pm

Dusty
Of course, the senator from Arizona is amazed. Obama has said quite clearly that he is not approving more enforcement to the border unless Congress will approve his ideas for a bill which mosty permits amnesty for all illegals. It is a ransom bill.
————————————————————————
Dusty, I have never heard Obama say that. Where do you get your news from? BTW, did you actually hear those very words come out of the President’s mouth or did someone ‘paraphrase’ in their own terms what he said. Never mind the question on where you get your news from. It’s fairly obvious.

Dusty

June 21st, 2010
12:24 pm

Kyle the Hypocrit

The next time Kyle writes about education I will keep you in mind. You have tried once again to insert your education complaints here in your last comment. I suggest you keep an open mind.

Education is important to all of us but today we are discussing another important issue, the defense of America. You can’t even get on subject. Should we discuss defense when Kyle writes about education? I don’t think so if we are reasonable.

Tyler Durden

June 21st, 2010
12:26 pm

Kyle: here’s a simple litmus test. You obviously hold Obama to some fairly stringent standards, saying this is the least we should expect from POTUS. However, you (and the vast majority of those sharing your ideology) either had nothing to say while the previous WH occupant fell FAR shorter of those standardsin practically every category (Foregin policy, Domestic policy, Economic policy, etc.) or say, ‘Yeah, but that was then, this is now.’ Same goes for promoting something Kyl says as gospel, yet softselling anything that supports a Democratic view of things.

That’s the difference between principle and ideology. If you stand by your principles, they apply regardless. If you simply want to defend/promote your ideology, then you selectively apply them when it’s convenient for your agenda. That’s why no one takes the Liptonites seriously. They never questioned when Bush did the same things Obama is doing, yet somehow it’s unprecedented heresy now…

When you figure that out, you will graduate from ideological hack to an actual journalist. See Bookman for some examples of someone who objectively comments on the news while also promoting his views.

You show glimmers of hope and I honestly feel you’ll get there. But only when you learn to balance things a little better…

Kyle Wingfield

June 21st, 2010
12:29 pm

jconservative: It would of course be hugely disruptive. It’s also unrealistic to think we could deport every illegal immigrant, or even most of them. That’s the rub in this whole debate. But it’s also precisely why border security can’t wait for a solution to the illegals already present…the past decade or two demonstrate that the problem only worsens in the meantime.

Just thinking out loud here: I wonder whether there’s a way to incentivize them to come clean and truly earn the right to stay — say, by paying a surtax on their income each year, whose revenues are legally required to pay down national debt. Make it $5,000 or 10% of income per year for five years, with a far stiffer penalty if you don’t come forward and are found to be present illegally.

If even half of your 20 million (not sure that’s the right figure, but I’ll go with it since this is all highly theoretical anyway), went for this deal, you’d be talking something like $250 billion over five years. In any case, it could be a significant number. Would most Americans still consider that amnesty? I don’t know. But how many of us would be able to say we’d personally contributed $25,000 toward paying down the debt?

It seems like at least a good starting point for debate…

Kyle the I'll wait to see what his NEXT column says

June 21st, 2010
12:33 pm

Dusty, I wouldn’t have responded as I did if not for the fact that Kyle didn’t respond to the earlier posts, and more to the point, that I CLEARLY indicated once he responded that I had let the matter go until his NEXT column on education.

Now as far as this topic, I’d like to know why so many of the people who call those in this country without documentation “illegal aliens” aren’t JUST as adamant about calling those who knowingly hire them “criminals”?

Seems a bit hypocritical for those espousing “the rule of law.”

Dusty

June 21st, 2010
12:35 pm

Sandra,

Why don’t YOU read what Kyle offered us today. It sounds like reliable information. No mumbo jumbo.

NO, I don’t work in the White House and did not hear the words from the mouth of Obama. I doubt that you have heard any words from his mouth on this particular subject.

If you think the AJC is total lies and PBS News Hour is partisan, then you don’t like the sources of much of my information. Does Obama speak to you personally or where do you get your poltical news? If you live in Chicago, I won’t even ask.

HDB`

June 21st, 2010
12:38 pm

Comprehensive immigration reform MUST include securing the borders….. but just securing the borders without knowing what we’re doing next is being the feature attraction at the theatre of the absurd!! AS we construct the method as to how to secure the border, this nation must ascertain what to do about the 12M undocumented aliens…..the employers that hire them….the effect on the economy……and all other possibilities that this issue encompasses…..particularly the discriminatory laws that are being passed that focus primarily on Hispanics. Whatever has to be done MUST not be viewed as xenophobic, racist, nor hypocritical……..the first thing that needs to be done is the immediate repeal of SB 1070 in Arizona…….

mrs. w.

June 21st, 2010
12:43 pm

If I remember correctly when Bush was president no border state begged for help the way AZ is now. Apparently things have gotten much worse or they would not have taken the step that they did. The POTUS, regardless of party should not ignore the pleas of a state for assistance. I do wonder what the WH response would be if the governor were a fellow Democrat….

Obama’s trademark is to let something get out of hand in order to futher his own agenda and he has certainly proven that he does not give a rats azz about what the majority of us (we the people) want.

scrappy

June 21st, 2010
12:43 pm

Yes – I think most people that are against amnesty would consider that amnesty even though they would be paying hefty fines. Perhaps another word is needed, because it seems like you can forget about rational thought or debate once the word ‘amnesty’ gets out.

As for securing the boarders, I think CT just pointed out an important point, there is no definition of what securing the boarders actually is, so attaining that which does not exist will be a failure, no matter lib or con.

Comprehensive reform is needed because 1- 100% secure boarders is not attainable 2- Fines on those here won’t fix problem 100% 3- Fines on employers will not fix problem 100% either. Only all of these working together will stop the flow….

scrappy

June 21st, 2010
12:45 pm

Mrs. W – a just as likely scenario is that because the Gov of Az is GOP, and Bush was GOP, the Gov was not allowed to make such pleas, because it would make Bush look even worse.

stands for decibels

June 21st, 2010
12:46 pm

It is quite another to admit that you aren’t even trying to succeed at it because doing so would make it harder to achieve one of your political goals.

And it’s quite quite another to admit that you actually take the hearsay account Jon Kyl at face value.

Dusty

June 21st, 2010
12:46 pm

Tyler Durden

You speak like a dedicated Democrat.

But, for goodness sake, don’t ask Kyle to write like Bookman. Or draw like Luckovich! Or write like Tucker! This sinking liberal ship is already full of enough gaping leaks without adding more.. You want to sink Atlanta’s only claim to so-called journalism??

A pox on you, sir. Man the lifeboats. Liberals on board!!

stands for decibels

June 21st, 2010
12:47 pm

sorry, meant to write “…the hearsay account OF Jon Kyl…”

Bob Loblaw

June 21st, 2010
12:48 pm

“Is Obama holding border security hostage to politics?”

Yep, and come November, Obama is done.

Kyle the I'll wait to see what his NEXT column says

June 21st, 2010
12:48 pm

Did SB 1070 in Arizona have a provision that if police had a reason to be on a job site, and had a reasonable suspicion that illegal aliens where working, that the police should investigate the EMPLOYER to see if they knowingly hired illegal workers?

Bob Loblaw

June 21st, 2010
12:49 pm

“.the first thing that needs to be done is the immediate repeal of SB 1070 in Arizona”

Bull$hit. Arizona is doing exactly what needs to be done. Get rid of the illegals and secure the borders. Hacks like you and other left wing bozos do nothing but b!tch about everything yet NEVER fix problems.

Rick

June 21st, 2010
12:50 pm

This just reinforces the idea that Obama and the Democrats have been complete and utter failures at securing our ports and borders and reducing illegal immigration!

They want to put aside their oath of office to enforce our laws so that they can hold border security up until the country submits to another amnesty for illegal aliens!

We were told that the 1986 amnesty granted by Reagan was going to be the LAST AMNESTY!

The government can not be trusted to be true to their word as Obama and the Democrats are making abundantly clear.

We need politicians that can put the interests of US citizens and legal residents before those of ILLEGAL ALIENS!

80% of the voters in this country want our borders secured, but Obama and the Democrats REFUSE to enforce our immigration laws NOW! Why should we believe them next year?

Bob Loblaw

June 21st, 2010
12:52 pm

“See Bookman for some examples of someone who objectively comments on the news while also promoting his views.”

Bookman has a following of about 10 cult members. Bookman and Tucker are two left wing retards who blame Bush and Limbaugh for their own stupidity.

Funny, Bookman and Tucker hold degrees in journalism yet they somehow know how economics and national security work.

Go sell stupid somewhere else Tyler Dirten.

Kyle the I'll wait to see what his NEXT column says

June 21st, 2010
12:52 pm

Bob Loblaw, if they really want to get rid of the “illegal aliens” why aren’t they JUST as adamant about those who illegally hire them?

Bob Loblaw

June 21st, 2010
12:53 pm

Question for left wingers:

If Obama is so great why are his poll numbers in the low 40s, unemployment at 10% and the oil leak still spewing?

Kyle the hypocrite is a hypocrite

June 21st, 2010
12:55 pm

Kyle the hypocrite
June 21st, 2010
12:11 pm

“……In the meantime, try to stick to the topic at hand.”

Oh, the hypocrisy, it burns!

Bob Loblaw

June 21st, 2010
12:55 pm

“Bob Loblaw, if they really want to get rid of the “illegal aliens” why aren’t they JUST as adamant about those who illegally hire them?”

Go ask the democrats and republicans. They’re the ones hiring them to cut their million dollar lawns.