WASHINGTON -- In one of her last speeches as a member of Congress, Rep. Michele Bachmann alleged border patrol agents aren't stopping "anyone" from entering the United States.
"I drove from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Boca Chica. It was shocking," she said, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation Wednesday. "The border control doesn't stop anyone from coming into the United States. And it's not their fault. It's the politicians' fault. Any foreign national who wants to come across the southern border comes in, they don't always get to stay necessarily, but they definitely get to come in."
The fact-checking website Politifact said that border patrol manpower along the nation's southern frontier is at an all-time modern high. There were 17,659 agents stationed along the southwest border of Mexico in 2011, Politifact said. The Department of Homeland Security shows a 412 percent increase in southwest border apprehensions from last year to this year, including family units and unaccompanied minors.
Bachmann alleged that if President Barack Obama granted amnesty to people living in the United States illegally, there would "presumably" be terrorists in that mix.
“When the president of the United States announced publicly that yes he was going to, by himself, unilaterally, grant amnesty to potentially millions of people illegally here in the United States. Presumably some of them could be terrorists that are in the United States who illegally have come across our southern border. That's one of our greatest fears. We don't know, but that's one of our greatest fears today.”
The two Americans who were killed fighting with ISIS were both naturalized citizens.
Bachmann also said the United States is the most generous country in the world in letting in legal immigrants. She said that by admitting more than one million legal immigrants as permanent residents annually, it topped all other countries' legal immigration numbers combined.
"If you took every other country in the world and you took the number of people they allow in for immigration and you added it up … every country in the world together doesn’t equal what the United States allows in immigration in one year.”
The Migration Policy Institute says this is only partially true. While the U.S. does allow in the most immigrants of any other country in the world, it's not more than all other countries combined.
"You will see that if you add up just a handful of the top countries (Spain, the UK, Italy, Germany and Canada) you top one million and that is before you add other ... countries," a spokeswoman wrote in an email.
Bachmann touted her proposed legislation that would give federal officials the right to revoke passport privileges of Americans who fight for terrorist organizations. She said Minnesota has a “tragic nexus to terrorism” given the two Americans who have died abroad fighting with the terrorist group had Minnesota ties.
“We need to take this threat from the Islamic State extremely seriously,” she said.
After a tour of a Columbia Heights charter school Monday with Republican candidates for governor and U.S. Senate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he believes Jeff Johnson can unseat Democratic incumbent Mark Dayton.
Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said he supported Johnson's plan for education reform, which includes giving schools more local control over the hiring and firing of educators and also giving parents the option to pull their children from underperforming schools.
"I'm here because I think Jeff can win this race," Christie told reporters and eighth graders from Global Academy who attended the news conference.
Christie touted charter schools as an example of reform that serves the needs of parents who want more choices when looking at education options for their children.
Christie toured Global Academy, a public charter school that resides in a Columbia Heights strip mall, along with GOP U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden and Johnson.
The state's DFL Party criticized the visit by Christie, saying that the New Jersey governor cut more than $1 billion in state aid to education. "Next month voters will reject Johnson's backward policies and re-elect Mark Dayton," said Ellen Perrault, a DFL spokeswoman.
Global Academy opened in 2008 and currently has 430 students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade. When it opened, nearly 90% of students, many of whom are immigrants, were classified as English-language learners, according to school officials. That figure is now down to 46%.
The Republicans toured three classrooms -- a first-grade class, third grade and took questions from eighth graders. Asked whether he's considering running for president, Christie told an eighth-grader he was mulling a run and would make a decision early next year.
Photo: N.J. Gov. Chris Christie and Republicans for Minnesota governor and U.S. Senate visit a Columbia Heights charter school Monday. Ricardo Lopez/Star Tribune
Former President Bill Clinton is used to being the center of political attention, and his visit to Minneapolis on Friday to campaign for Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken is likely to dominate Minnesota election news for the day.
The gregarious and usually quotable Clinton is perhaps the most sought-after campaigner for Democrats nationwide. He'll stump for Franken and Dayton at an early afternoon get-out-the-vote rally at Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus.
Dayton's Republican challenger, is taking a day off the campaign trail Friday in order to raise campaign funds. Johnson is planning to leverage some national political firepower of his own next week, with an event planned for Monday with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The Johnson campaign has not yet released details of Christie's visit.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden really wants Minnesotans to see him debate Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken.
So much so that McFadden is paying to re-air his first -- and so far only -- debate with Franken on Twin Cities television in its completion on Saturday. The debate took place on Oct. 1 in Duluth at 8 a.m.
"We are going to paying to air this debate so that we make sure that Minnesotans have a chance to see it," said spokesman Tom Erickson told the Star Tribune.
McFadden, a Sunfish Lake businessman making his first run for office, had long hammered on Franken for a series of debates. He even aired two television ads focusing on debates.
In the end, Franken and McFadden agreed to three debates. The first one was in Duluth last week. They will not debate again until Oct. 26, just days before the Nov. 4 election. Public polls show McFadden trailing Franken. Some show the Republican behind by double digits.
Erickson said the campaign plans to air as much as the one-hour debate as they can fit into their 58 minute time slot.
"We were so confident in Mike's performance we decided to just air the debate," he said.
In reaction, the Franken campaign was equally confident.
"We're happy that more Minnesotans will learn about investment banker Mike McFadden's support for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, that he would undermine Minnesota jobs by building the Keystone Pipeline with Chinese steel and that last year when it came time to answer tough questions about Syria Mike McFadden blinked," said Ryan Furlong, Franken campaign spokesman.
The station's time slot -- it will run from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m on Saturday on WFTC -- can be bought fairly inexpensively. It will cost the campaign about $5,000, according to Federal Communications Commission files.
"It's a bargain," Erickson said.
Still, it is unusual for a campaign to buy up so much time to air anything, much less a debate.
In a clip prepared as a trailer for the airing shows McFadden in his best light and Franken in his worst. See that below.
WASHINGTON -- The National Rifle Association threw support behind two Minnesotans on Wednesday hoping to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives: an incumbent Democrat and a Republican challenger.
Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, who was earlier named best marksman in the U.S. Congress, garnered the endorsement of the NRA Wednesday. Peterson is running to keep his Seventh Congressional District seat against GOP challenger Torrey Westrom.
"Throughout his career, Collin Peterson has consistently opposed all attempts to ban lawfully owned firearms and magazines and has stood strong against the Obama-Bloomberg agenda, said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA's Political Victory Fund.
This is an unusual move for the NRA, which almost always endorses Republicans, though the organization seems to like Peterson since this is the fourth time they've backed him. The only other known Democrat endorsed this week by the group is a Georgia congressman.
The organization also endorsed Republican Stewart Mills, who is running to unseat Democrat Rep. Rick Nolan in the Eighth Congressional District.
"Over five million active NRA members, many of them in our part of Minnesota, know that the Second Amendment is about so much more than just hunting -- and they know we need a representative who will stand up for those rights," Mills' camp said in a statement.
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