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FACT CHECK: Candidates make errant claims during GOP debate
Question of the Day
GINGRICH: “If we’re going to have a debate about who the extremist is on these issues, it is President Obama, who as a state senator voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion.”
THE FACTS: As an Illinois state senator, Obama voted against legislation promoted by anti-abortion activists that would have conferred protection to fetuses showing any signs of life after an abortion, even if doctors did not believe the fetus was viable. Obama pointed to an existing Illinois law requiring doctors to protect fetuses they believed were likely to survive after an abortion, and said he was concerned the proposed new law was so broad it could interfere with routine abortions. Obama said he would have supported federal legislation President George W. Bush signed in 2002 that would protect a viable fetus but reaffirmed a woman’s right to an abortion.
GINGRICH: “It is utterly stupid to say that the United States government can’t control the border. It is a failure of will. It’s a failure of enforcement.”
THE FACTS: A failure of will or enforcement is difficult to see in the statistics. Starting under the Bush administration, the ranks of the Border Patrol have risen to more than 21,400 agents, a force augmented by National Guard troops, unmanned aerial vehicles and fencing. A record 396,609 illegal immigrants were deported last year.
In the budget year that ended in September, border agents arrested the fewest illegal border crossers — 327,577 — in nearly four decades. That’s considered a sign that fewer people are trying to cross, whether because doing so is riskier or because economic opportunity in the U.S. is less than before.
The debate presses on about whether the border is becoming secure enough, but there has been a measure of success and substantial effort.
• Associated Press writers Alicia A. Caldwell, Beth Fouhy and Bradley Klapper contributed to this report.
By Michael P. Orsi
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