During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to halt travelers coming from countries with terrorist connections until U.S. security officials could “figure out what is going on.”
The situation seems murky as ever.
Trump’s January 2017 executive order restricted travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela. The ban, subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court, included also barred immigrants from those countries.
Yet three years on, more than 8,000 individuals from three of those nations remain in the U.S. illegally. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) listed 8,480 “non-detained” illegal aliens from Iran, Syria and North Korea residing here, as of June 2018.
Another 1,860 aliens are from Sudan, which the Secretary of State has also designated a sponsor of terrorism. Sudan’s contingent brings the total to 10,340.
Intelligence officials and security experts have testified in Congress about the existence of Iranian “sleeper cells” operating within the United States, awaiting orders to commit acts of terrorism. Thomas Homan, former acting director of ICE, acknowledged, “My biggest concern isn’t how many terrorists have been arrested entering the country illegally, but how many got through.”
According to ICE, the individuals from terrorist states were ordered removed from the U.S., or have pending final orders of removal. Yet they remain. ICE has not said how many, if any, have been deported since last year’s report.
All of which continues to beg the question: What is going on?
“It’s bad enough that America is deluged with illegal aliens from failed states around the world. It’s simply unacceptable that we have aliens here from terrorist states that are sworn enemies of America,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which obtained the ICE data via a Freedom of Information Act request.
Whether the blame lies with subversive local sanctuary policies or a systemic breakdown in federal immigration enforcement – or both — the continued illegal presence of thousands of aliens from countries bent on harming America indicates that the U.S. is failing to address a serious and potentially dangerous problem.