GOP Congresswoman Mocked for Claiming 1 Billion Migrants Have Been Apprehended at the Southern Border in Now Deleted Tweet
Right-wing Congresswoman Debbie Lesko of Arizona deployed a familiar criticism of President Joe Biden, claiming he's made the southern border more vulnerable to illegal crossings.
Lesko made the smear in a since-deleted tweet, but apparently wasn't paying attention to the number of zeroes she included in the statistic.
The Congresswoman claimed that one billion people were apprehended at the southern border in six months—nearly three times the population of the entire United States.
The tweet linked to a Wall Street Journal article that reported more than one million apprehensions in six months, not one billion.
Lesko may have deleted the tweet, but not before fellow social media users got a hold of it.
Republicans: They’re inflating the COVID numbers to scare and control us!
Also Republicans: Sure the population of Mexico is only 130M, but 1 BILLION ILLEGAL ALIENS HAVE BEEN STOPPED AT THE MEXICAN BORDER IN THE PAST 6 MONTHS! https://t.co/QHJftF2zNj
— Dylan Park (@dyllyp) April 20, 2022
Holy shit! 1/8th of the planet’s population went to the Southern Border this year? And we apprehended all of them? Debbie, do you want to delete this tweet or you good? https://t.co/UZ2lnlcxNT
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) April 20, 2022
She added three zeros because either A. She does not know the numeric expression for one million or B. Well, no, it’s just A. and that’s problem enough. https://t.co/0F37rUaiTd
— G O L D I E. (@goldietaylor) April 20, 2022
@RepDLesko that must be something to see, 1,000,000,000 people all together. Especially, since there are only 7,500,000,000 people on the entire planet. https://t.co/5khGlW4ox3
— TheMadRush (@themadrush) April 20, 2022
But even beyond typos, it seems at odds with reality that Lesko and other Republican elected officials cite stratospheric border apprehensions to claim Biden has left it wide open for anyone to cross. Though the tactics and powers border officials employ have become a subject of heated debate, their function is to stop illegal border crossings. A high number of apprehensions indicates the opposite of an "open border" policy.
This isn't the first time Republicans have appeared not to notice this. Last year, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel noted that "899 lbs of fentanyl and 15,631 lbs of methamphetamine" were seized at the southern border in October 2021. She concluded the claim with "We need border security!" Biden's rapid response director, Mike Gwin, responded by thanking her for "highlighting work by the Administration and federal law enforcement to keep dangerous and lethal drugs off of our streets."
People pointed out this logical fallacy to Lesko as well.
Put aside the ridiculous number, if they were apprehended at the border then it’s NOT OPEN, is it? Geniuses. The House GOP caucus is full of them. https://t.co/MReZk5dUa3
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) April 20, 2022
GOP Rep Debbie Lesko, literally claimed 1 billion migrants were arrested under "Biden's open border policy." Other than not knowing numbers, if the borders were open, there would be almost no arrests let alone 1 billion as she invented! She can't even lie well. @RepDLesko
— Moorfield Storey (@storeymoorfield) April 20, 2022
Many republicans (1) don't care about the sheer impossibility of the number, (2) fully believe Biden has an open border policy, & (3) simultaneously cite the CBP apprehensions as proof (?). Affective polarization absolves people like Lesko of operating in a coherent reality. https://t.co/XZrJ6WUhei
— your friend, c. (@missingDG) April 20, 2022
The @GOP doesn’t understand the word apprehended, sad. https://t.co/1wexlpZ4bZ
— The Keeper (@TheKeeper2016) April 20, 2022
Apprehending millions at the border sounds like the opposite of an open border policy…am I missing something here? #Immigration #USA @POTUS @DHSgov #Truth #Vote https://t.co/E7sqABwPFa
— Leni Spencer (@historydoeslaps) April 20, 2022
"APPREHENDED" soon began trending on Twitter after Lesko posted the now-deleted tweet.