Obama made the remark when host Chuck Todd asked him about his pledge to take executive action to protect at least some of the estimated 11.5 million illegal aliens in the U.S. from deportation.
“Not only do I want to make sure that the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted, but here’s the thing, and Chuck, and I'm being honest now, about the politics of it,” Obama said. “This problem with unaccompanied children that we saw a couple weeks ago, where you had, from Central America, a surge of kids who were showing up at the border, got a lot of attention.
“And a lot of Americans started thinking, ‘We've got this immigration crisis on our hands,’” Obama said. “Now, the fact of the matter is-- is that the number of people apprehended crossing our borders has plummeted over the course of the decade.”
From fiscal year 2011 through fiscal year 2013, the number of apprehensions increased from 340,252 to 420,789, or 23.7 percent. From 2012 to 2013, the number increased from 364,768 to 420,789, or 15.4 percent.
Obama denied in the interview that the mid-term elections played a role in his decision to delay issuing an executive order but said politics did “shift” when more than 38,833 unaccompanied alien minors flooded over the Southwest border into the U.S. during fiscal year 2013 (Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 20, 2013), according to CBP.
“And you know, the truth of the matter is that the politics did shift midsummer because of that problem,” Obama said. “I want to spend some time, even as we're getting all our ducks in a row for the executive action, I also want to make sure that the public understands why we're doing this, why it's the right thing for the American people, why it's the right thing for the American economy.”