When then-candidate Donald Trump announced the start of his presidential run in 2015, he described some of the people crossing our southern border as “bringing drugs ... bringing crime ... [and] rapists.”
He also observed we have a problem with Islamic State terrorists. But he never put the two together.
A recent arrest in Guatemala illustrates why border security is so important to Trump’s agenda — including the construction of a wall. And the arrest illustrates why it should be important to all Americans.
As a huge caravan consisting of thousands of alleged asylum-seekers is making its way north from Central America, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced that his government had arrested nearly 100 Islamic State militants.
Morales told Prensa Libre, a Guatemalan newspaper of record, that “we have apprehended close to 100 persons completely involved with terrorists, with ISIS and we have not only detained them within our territory, but they have been deported to their country of origin.”
Two questions come to mind: If Guatemala arrested nearly 100, how many did they miss? And, who couldn’t see this one coming?
Illegal immigrants without terrorist connections create problems of their own, including:
They take jobs that normally would have been offered to American citizens.
They’re a drain on social services.
They send large percentages of their income to relatives in their home country, and, despite the denials of immigration activists, seldom contribute their fair share of taxes.
When an immigrant is seeking something other than a better life — such as an MS-13 gang member or an Islamic terrorist — the problems are compounded.
Individuals from countries other than Latin America who illegally cross our southern border are called “exotics” by border agents. If they arrive from “special interest countries,” that is those where terrorism flourishes and subject to the president’s travel ban, they become a national security concern.
Three years ago the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a report on gang activity, including Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), in the Lone Star State, who arrive in the country from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
The report indicated that whereas many disguise themselves as unaccompanied minor children seeking asylum, still others slip through the border undetected.
“Although a large number of MS-13 members have been captured along the border, it is likely many more have successfully crossed into Texas and remain hidden from law enforcement,” the report said.
If gang members can disguise themselves and slip into the United States in the dead of night without detection, so can terrorists, at least theoretically.
Undercover investigative journalist James O’Keefe set out to test that theory. But he went one better: He crossed the Rio Grande at the southern border and Lake Erie at the northern border in broad daylight “disguised” as a terrorist.
O’Keefe, who founded Project Veritas, remarked “this investigation illustrates the lack of border security by simulating a terrorist infiltration across Lake Erie and into Cleveland, Ohio.”
When Barack Obama’s Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Francis Taylor testified during a Senate committee hearing that he was satisfied with border security, the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., questioned that assessment.
“You know, it’s interesting, because an American reporter named James O’Keefe dressed as Osama bin Laden walked across the border at the Rio Grande River undetected,” McCain said. “Does something like that concern you?”
Taylor said that border personnel observed O’Keefe making the crossing, but added that he couldn’t say why the reporter wasn’t detained.
“You can’t answer it because they weren’t there to stop him,” McCain put in.
The Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C. non-profit organization and think tank, addressed the problem of terrorist infiltration through a porous southern border.
“In the ongoing public debates about immigration enforcement, the absence of [Special Interest Aliens] as even a consideration raises the prospect of high-consequence negligence,” the report said.
The Center for Immigration Studies suggests that the smuggling of terrorists through our border should be made a part of the national debate on immigration and border security.
Given that nearly 100 Islamic State militants were arrested this month in Guatemala, we should probably do more than debate the issue. It’s time to make border security a national security issue, and address it accordingly.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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