Organized terrorist groups or state sponsors of terror might be evil, but they tend not to be unintelligent and illogical. Why would they not exploit the situation with the Mexican cartels controlling both sides of our border and Border Patrol essentially being abolished from their patrol duties to get in new terrorists that are not on any watch list? Well, if that sounds logical to you, then it’s illogical to assume our enemies aren’t trying it.
Aside from the president’s iron-clad immigration authority under 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and foreign commerce authority under Article II of the Constitution to shut off all illegal immigrant asylum requests at our border, national security should dictate that he do so as well.
Several weeks ago, it was reported that ISIS had a plan to recruit terrorists to come to our border. On June 25, Breitbart reported that the Mexican government confirmed that three ISIS suspects were headed north from Costa Rica and detained in Nicaragua. The alert flagged Ibrahim Mohamed and Mohamed Eissa of Egypt, and Ahamed Ghanim Mohamed Al Juburi from Iraq.
Now, Todd Bensman, senior national security fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies, is reporting based on a Reuters article that a fourth suspect, another Iraqi, was also detained in Nicaragua. According to Bensman’s sources, “One of the Iraqis is believed to be a convicted murderer in Iraq who was supposed to be serving a life sentence, one source told me. That Iraqi was carrying a genuine passport, apparently with his real name.”
Bensman, who was an investigative journalist covering terrorism for many years and also spent 10 years in the intel branch of Texas’s Department of Public Safety, says that according to his sources, “none of the four travelers were on U.S. terrorism watch lists.” Obviously, those who wish to do us harm will likely send newbies who have no prior paper trail of a criminal record.
Whether any of these four travelers are actually tied into ISIS and whether the intel sources alerting foreign governments are credible remains to be seen. But the known threat of convicted murderers or other security threats in the Western Hemisphere coming up with the caravans – both openly and smuggled in surreptitiously – is already a known problem. That’s why it would not be surprising for Middle Eastern terrorists would do the same.
The threat of those coming in as “runners” and “got aways” while Border Patrol is strategically tied down by the cartels with the family units is obvious. All of those with massive criminal records who were previously deported now have a freer lane than ever to come right back in. The same applies to known or ‘virgin’ terrorists.
But what is even more disquieting is that would-be criminal migrants are so emboldened by the notion that we will give amnesty to anyone with a kid, that a number of those coming with the family units are criminals. One border agent in Texas, who is on an evidence collection team and administers fingerprints, told CR that they are catching so many adult males who come with one child who think that despite their criminal record they will benefit from catch-and-release.
“And they are not entirely wrong,” said the veteran agent who must remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
“In every single group, almost without fail, there is someone with a criminal record, typically males with single kids,” the agent said. “There is a wide misconception about the majority of these people being females. They are overwhelmingly male. While we try to prioritize referrals for prosecution based on criminal history, we only have so many computers we can utilize and so many staff members.”
When I asked him if that means there are those with confirmed criminal records, even with convictions in the U.S., who have been released, he said, “absolutely. They are given a notice to appear in court like anyone else.”
According to Department of Homeland Security investigators, in a memo sent to GOP staff of the House Oversight Committee obtained by CR, there were enough criminal convictions (just from their previous time in the U.S.) among the January 2019 caravan members to account for roughly one quarter of the entire group! Homeland Security Investigations identified a total of 860 U.S. criminal convictions among the 3,345 people who left Honduras, including “22 individuals convicted of assault or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, 27 individuals convicted of sexual offenses.” They also identified 47 gang members.
These were just the number of convictions in the U.S. of previously deported aliens. One can only imagine how many had engaged in criminality in their home countries and were coming here for the first time. And these people came in full sight knowing the authorities would be on to them.
“So many of those coming here now have no records in the NCIC and are from countries that don’t share information with us,” bemoaned the evidence collection agent I spoke to. “We literally have no idea who they are before we release them. They just give us a random name a birthdate and we have no way of verifying it. None of those from China are in the system and they certainly don’t share criminal histories with us. All of them are released into the asylum system. People from the Dominican Republic often melt their fingerprints or surgically alter them. I’ve processed a few of them who sliced their fingers and had them stitched up, thereby washing away the authentic print.”
Consider the fact that 208,000 aliens have been released since Dec. 21 and we have no idea who they are. Thankfully, Border Patrol catches murderers, sex offenders, and gang members every day. But if those are the fish that are caught, one can imagine how many are in that pond and how few we catch when the net is so small and thin.
Just this past month, there have been three refugees who have killed or attempted to kill Americans. Last week, a Ukrainian refugee allegedly killed seven Americans, including five retired Marines in a vehicular manslaughter. A Syrian refugee who was brought here in 2016 despite three arrests in Jordan was arrested by the FBI on terrorism charges for plotting an attack on a church in Pittsburgh. Earlier this month, a Czech refugee was suspected of shooting four people in Cleveland, Texas.
Now, consider that refugees are fully vetted, yet we still make mistakes. Those who come straight to our border and are released are not vetted at all. We will never know who is a criminal until an American is harmed by them. Even then, the identity of the perpetrator usually goes unreported.
Even if it were to say in the Constitution, “the right to immigrate with a child shall not be infringed,” that would never prevent President Trump from shutting down processing given the security concerns. After all, it does say that about gun rights in the Second Amendment and states can place all sorts of limitations on them for public security. How much more so when immigration is the antithesis of a constitutional right and sovereignty allows the president to always deny entry to any immigration flow he deems “detrimental” to U.S. interests.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.