Lax policies to enforce immigration laws along the southern U.S. border are causing the threat posed by ISIS to come "closer and closer" to America, former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax TV's
A "porous" border, combined with the "2,200 to 2,400 documented Europeans and Americans" fighting in Iraq with the Islamic State terrorist group are creating a national security threat to the United States, he said.
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"We have a law. We should be enforcing it," Hoekstra said Tuesday. "The threat keeps coming closer and closer back to the United States and the homeland."
Social media postings from alleged members of the group, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), saying they are in the United States
should be taken seriously, Hoekstra said.
Terrorists in the Middle East are united by their desire to "attack the West," "establish a caliphate," and "implement Sharia law."
"It's a very legitimate threat. We're at great risk if we don't take these people seriously for what they say," he said. "This is not just a threat that is overseas. That is a threat that is here in the United States."
The threat could, at any given time, become operational, and "they could have an attack in Washington, or Chicago, or New York, or some smaller town," he said.
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The United States should not just "kill or capture" ISIS leadership, but should focus efforts to "take out this entire organization, eliminate the threat," he said, emphasizing the need to "pull these organizations out by their roots, if we're going to be safe."
President Barack Obama should go to Congress for authorization over plans against ISIS, Hoekstra said, but he doesn't think he will, since he hasn't informed them on other issues.
"If he's going to involve [Congress] in terms of going after ISIS, then why wouldn't he involve them in terms of what he's going to do with EPA, the border, immigration, and all these types of things?" he asked.
In addition to the relative ease thousands of illegal immigrants have had recently in crossing into the United States, policies about traveling once they were in the country also pose a security problem, Hoekstra said. The Transportation Security Administration admitted earlier this month that the agency allowed illegal immigrants to board planes without standard identification.
The TSA was "reckless" in allowing illegal immigrants to board airplanes in the United States without proper documentation, Hoekstra said, questioning why the agency was "allowing them to fly with such substandard requirements."
Earlier this summer, the TSA denied allegations it was allowing illegal immigrants to bypass usual security procedures, and Hoekstra said the government should call for "accountability" from the TSA for not originally telling the truth about the policy.
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