Jon Kyl’s wrong on multiple levels

JON KYL’S WRONG ON MULTIPLE LEVELS…. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is not exactly known for his candid, honest assessments of reality, but even for him, this seems ridiculous.

The White House on Monday denied Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl’s claim that President Barack Obama told him privately that he would not work to secure the border unless it was part of a comprehensive immigration reform package.

In a video that started circulating among conservative blogs over the weekend, the Arizona Republican is seen telling supporters in North Phoenix that in a private meeting in the Oval Office, Obama said “the problem” with border enforcement measures is that “if we secure the border then [Republicans] won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.”

Kyl said the president’s supposed statement is proof that Democrats “don’t want to secure the border unless or until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform.”

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer categorically rejected Kyl’s claims, explaining that “the president didn’t say that and Senator Kyl knows it.”

As a substantive matter, it doesn’t take much to realize Kyl, the #2 Republican in the Senate, is lying. After all, the Obama administration has already invested considerable resources into border security, a detail Kyl ought to be familiar with. As a political matter, it’s hard to imagine the president making a concession like this to a right-wing senator, especially since it’s at odds with what the administration is already doing.

Kyl added that the reason the federal government has not secured the border is that Democrats “don’t want to do it.” That’s just dumb. The border wasn’t “secured” during the Bush administration, and comprehensive immigration reform failed in Congress due to GOP opposition. Is that proof that the federal government has not secured the border because Republicans “don’t want to do it”?

Kyl would do well to read Dennis Wagner’s thoughtful piece in The Arizona Republic, which offered a serious, sober look at the political dispute when politicians say they want to “secure the border first,” and “then talk about immigration reform.”

Anyone with a minimal knowledge or understanding about the nearly 2,000-mile swath of land between Mexico and the United States realizes that requiring a secure border establishes an impossible standard. […]

Here is another way to consider the problem: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a leader in the anti-immigration movement and acclaimed as America’s toughest sheriff, cannot secure his own jails. Every year, despite armed guards, electronic locks and video monitors, inmates smuggle drugs in from the outside and sometimes even escape.

No one would blame Arpaio. All penal institutions, regardless of security measures, have breaches. Yet imagine if America adopted a position that no new laws could be passed regarding prison reform “until the nation’s jails are secure.”

Tom Barry, director of the Transborder Project at the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C., said the demand for a completely secure border is a ploy by those opposed to immigration reform to prevent new policies.

“No matter how much enforcement you have, there will always be people coming through,” he said. “Since that is true, opponents to immigration reform will always be able to say the border is still not secure . . . and therefore we cannot pass immigration reform.”

Kyl’s dishonest demagoguery is shameful, and I suspect he knows that. It only reinforces what a disappointment he is as a Senate leader.