A Texas Blooper

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 7, 2014.  (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

“Every day, all along border states, maybe other places, there are murders by people who have been arrested coming into this country, who have been released by the Obama administration, I believe in violation of the law, who are murdering Americans all over our cities. We hold the Democrat Party and the president personally accountable for this action”

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX32)

The phrase is, “Can of corn”.

With a blooper so facially ridiculous that even a newspaper fact checker wants in on the action, Rep. Pete Sessions, hardly a man known for dignity and restraint, aimed for the bleachers.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) accused President Barack Obama and Democrats Thursday evening of continually releasing undocumented immigrants who are murdering Americans.

“Every day, all along border states, maybe other places, there are murders by people who have been arrested coming into this country, who have been released by the Obama administration, I believe in violation of the law, who are murdering Americans all over our cities,” the Rules Committee chairman said at a meeting while discussing Obama’s deportation relief policies. “We hold the Democrat Party and the president personally accountable for this action.”

The comment came during a discussion of a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, which many Republicans believe needs to include measures to block Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Congress must pass funding for DHS by the end of Friday to avoid a shutdown, and House Republicans are planning to vote on a three-week bill.

(Foley)

It’s generally the easy ones the “fact checkers” want; they get to look smart without doing a whole lot of legwork. Then again, at least they’re doing that much. Glenn Kessler takes a swing of his own, and with a setup like that he might as well be playing T-ball:

There are on average 44 murders a day in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Assuming murders by illegal immigrants were prorated as a percentage of the U.S. population, it is not unreasonable to assume one to two murders a day are committed by illegal immigrants.

The Washington PostBut that’s just a straight-line calculation — and Sessions was not talking about the 11 million or so illegal immigrants, but about the 130,000, including 30,000 with previous criminal records, that the Obama administration released in the 2014 fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30.

(We should note that immigration agents removed nearly 316,000 people in the fiscal year that ended in 2014, most of whom were convicted of a crime. That was a decrease of 14 percent from the previous year.)

Since there are no nationwide data kept on murders committed by illegal immigrants, let alone on immigrants who are released by the Obama administration, Sessions’s staff struggled to come up with something that would confirm his assertion.

“Thousands of illegal immigrants have been convicted of crimes, and President Obama has allowed them to stay in the United States of America, and the president’s unwise, unlawful and unconstitutional executive actions on immigration will only cause an increase in risk to our public safety,” said a Sessions spokesman who declined to be identified.

Note that the statement actually tries to subtly change the meaning of Sessions’s remarks — that Obama is allowing immigrants who have been convicted of crimes to stay in the United States, not that people released by the Obama administration have committed crimes.

Can you smell those four Pinocchios?

Additionally, a spokesman for the Texas Republican passed along “a pie chart produced by the Texas Department of Public Safety”, but the actual data was itself useless. No wonder the spokesman did not wish to be identified by name.

In the end, the best estimate Kessler and his team could put together is “one murder every five days, not every day, from every illegal immigrant, not just those released by the administration”, a far cry from Sessions’ outrageous pretense of outrage.

We might wonder, however, if more than simply arguing over the details, we might also make the note that once again a Congressional Republican has nothing but panicked dishonesty to offer the American discourse. This unfortunate circumstance is all too common, and some are starting to wonder whether this craven lying that aims to distract the discourse from real and substantial issues is actually pathological behavior within American conservatism.

Parents used to tell their kids about how they “don’t need friends like that”, or even growl that they “wouldn’t let a person like that around my children”. It has always seemed strange how many of the people meeting those criteria end up being the figures we’re supposed to admire in society. You know, like Congressmen.

Something goes here about what Texas finds admirable.

____________________

Foley, Elise. “Pete Sessions: Obama Accountable For Murders ‘Every Day’ By Undocumented Immigrants”. The Huffington Post. 27 February 2015.

Kessler, Glenn. “Lawmaker claims illegal immigrants released by Obama are committing a murder a day”. The Washington Post. 5 March 2015.

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