The Border Patrol Wants Us to Think Its Job Is More Dangerous Than Ever. It’s Not.

Protecting our borders from illegal immigration is a tough job. According to the Border Patrol, assaults on officers jumped from 454 to 786 last year, an increase of 332 assaults. Over at the Intercept, Debbie Nathan decided to check into this:

Almost the entire increase — 271 purported assaults — was said to have occurred in one sector, the Rio Grande Valley…on a single day….Christiana Coleman, a CBP public affairs spokesperson…explained in an email that “an incident in the Rio Grande Valley Sector on February 14, 2017, involved seven U.S. Border Patrol Agents assaulted by six subjects utilizing three different types of projectiles (rocks, bottles, and tree branches), totaling 126 assaults.”

That’s some fancy countin’, pardner! No one else counts assaults that way, but in 2015 the Border Patrol decided to pioneer this innovative new method. Unsurprisingly, the number of reported assaults skyrocketed:

As you can see, using the normal measure of assaults as reported by the FBI—one victim = one assault—nothing much has changed: the number of assaults has gone from 373 to 349 to 397 to … oh, probably around 400 or so in 2017. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But regardless of what the Border Patrol wants everyone to think, the danger of assault simply hasn’t changed much. The only thing that’s changed is the rate of misleading statistics.


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