GMA Invokes Team Biden’s Creative Math to Suggest Border Success

August 19th, 2023 10:00 AM

In a report released late Friday, the Biden administration employed some creative accounting in its latest report on the ongoing border crisis, to claim a 27 percent drop in encounters vs. last year, even though border arrests actually surged in July. And on Saturday morning, ABC’s Good Morning America seized on the report to applaud how “officials [were] touting Biden’s policies for that drop.”

GMA’s Morgan Norwood included the happy talk amid a longer piece about northern cities straining to deal with the small subset of illegal immigrants that have reached their jurisdictions: “It comes, though, as apprehensions along the southern border increased last month to close to 133,000, but overall still down nearly 30 percent from last year. That was when Title 42 expired, or was still in place, rather, with officials touting Biden’s policies for that drop.”



But that statistic — 133,000 — which ABC suggested was the total number of border encounters in July, isn't the total number at all. As is spelled out in the the July 2023 monthly update from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is merely a subset of border encounters — those encountered “between ports of entry along the Southwest Border.”

If you have the patience to read to the very next paragraph, you’d find: “Total Southwest Border encounters in July.... were 183,503, a decrease of 8% from July 2022.” That’s 50,000 more than claimed by ABC in their misleading report, and a hefty increase from the 144,566 encounters in June. (You can see all of CBP's monthly statistics here.)

None of Friday’s evening news broadcasts, nor Saturday’s morning shows on CBS and NBC, bothered to report the Biden administration’s border statistics this morning, leaving GMA all alone in passing along this particular bit of pro-Biden administration spin.

Just two weeks ago, NewsBusters’ Nick Fondacaro discovered, GMA employed a similar misreading of the data to promote the idea that the Biden administration was getting the situation under control. On August 2, reporter Stephanie Ramos claimed encounters had “decreased 70 percent from the record highs,” but ignored that there had actually been a “surge” in border arrests during the month of July (according to the Washington Post).

On Fox & Friends Saturday, co-host Griff Jenkins got the numbers exactly right as he set up an interview with an official from the Texas Department of Public Safety: “This as CBP reports more than 183,000 migrants crossing to the U.S. in July, bring this fiscal year’s total encounters to nearly two million.”

Lt. Chris Olivarez of the Texas DPS told viewers it is a dangerous situation: “The numbers are increasing, we see that at the ground level. And when you have increased numbers of illegal immigrants coming across our border between points of entry, you’re going to have an increase in human smuggling.”

Reacting to last night’s release from the CBP, the President of the Federation for American Immigration Reform Dan Stein scoffed at the suggestion the Biden administration was making the situation better:

By every metric, illegal immigration increased last month – at the Southwest border, the Northern border, unaccompanied children, family units and single adults. In the 30 months that President Biden has been in office, there have been 6.9 million CBP encounters and 1.7 million known gotaways. Outside of the people who work at the White House, there is no one who would consider 8.6 million people entering our country illegally to be a successful, sustainable, or rational policy.

ABC’s misleading pro-Biden spin on the border was sponsored by Walmart.