An early leader among Democratic presidential hopefuls says, “Precisely zero terrorists, terrorist groups or terror plots have ever been connected with the U.S.-Mexico border to do harm to people within the United States.”
The Center for Immigration Studies recently reported that 15 migrants with credibly suspected or confirmed terrorism ties were apprehended at the southern border or encountered en route in Central America.
The roster, compiled from public documents, is undoubtedly an undercount, since, as CIS notes, “Most information relevant to addressing the question of how often terrorist suspects were apprehended at, or migrating to, the border resides in government intelligence database systems exempt from public disclosure. This list therefore cannot be regarded as comprehensive,” CIS cautioned.
Affiliations of the publicly known “Special Interest Aliens” (SIAs) include al-Shabbab, al-Ittihad al-Islamiya, Hezbollah, the Pakistani Taliban, ISIS, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh and the Tamil Tigers.
The open-borders Cato Institute acknowledges that that some 45,000 SIAs have been detained by U.S. authorities since 2007. Cato then blithely assures that there have been “no U.S. terrorist attacks from illegal border crossers.”
No harm, no foul?
Beto apparently thinks so, but the State Department says otherwise. Officials there warn that America’s southern neighbors are more open than ever to terrorist infiltration and transit.
Particular areas of concern are Panama and Costa Rica, which “are essentially doing the work of smuggling networks in moving migrants from countries of terrorism efficiently and safely on to the United States.”
The CIS report cites, among others, the case of Islamic convert and Virginia native Anthony Joseph Tracy, who was prosecuted for providing 270 Somalis with fraudulently obtained Kenyan passports, Cuban visas and travel documentation to help them be smuggled over the U.S. border.
According to 2010 prosecution records, Tracy admitted the terrorist organization al-Shabaab asked him to provide fraudulent travel documents to its operatives. In court, investigators produced an e-mail from Tracy to an associate in which he admitted, “I helped a lot of Somalis, and most are good, but there are some who are bad, and I leave them to Allah.”
CIS concludes: “The facts support President Donald Trump’s contention that Middle Easterners from places like Syria, Iraq and Egypt, as well as from South Asia and the Horn of Africa, do indeed routinely travel the same routes as [Central American migrants] to the U.S. southern border and that some terrorist suspects have traveled among them.”
Politicians like O’Rourke can make facile and demonstrably false claims on the campaign trail. But cheap talk becomes costly when it comes to national security.