There is no question that migrants from Latin America have taken advantage of President Joe Biden’s open border policies; the scores of migrants flooding over our southern border are proof. However, have foreign nationals from beyond the Western Hemisphere followed suit?
According to a new report by Todd Bensman of the Center for Immigration Studies, Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) traveled to the Panama-Colombia border to witness the influx of migrants entering from the Colombia side to make their way north. The impetus for Rep. Tiffany’s journey follows concerns that extra-continentals originating from terror-prone nations are traveling to the United States. Extra-continental migrants are U.S.-bound foreign nationals from non-Spanish-speaking countries or regions of the world such as Brazil, Haiti, Africa, South Asia, or the Middle East. The Darien Gap, which straddles between Colombia and Panama, has served as a path for extra-continentals in South America traveling north.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that between January and April, 11,370 extra-continentals crossed into Panama thanks to the vulnerabilities of the Darien Gap. As Bensman noted, in May alone, more than 10,000 extra-continentals entered the Central American nation from Colombia. In just one month, the number of crossings between the two continents has nearly equaled the total of the four months preceding it.
The IOM explained that the warmer climate has led to larger numbers of border crossings. However, a more likely explanation is that since most extra-continental illegal aliens in the past simply overstayed a visa and are opting to travel to a neighboring country and cross the border illegally. Most countries in South America have lax visa processes.
This information should be concerning to the American people. Latin America has been a focal point for extra-continental migrants because of its proximity to the United States. Moreover, Middle Eastern terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah, have established networks across Central and South America. With the southern border now open, what is stopping them from entering the country? In fact, Central American authorities have apprehended known U.S.-bound terrorists at their respective borders.
Since 2007, more than 45,000 Special Interest Aliens (SIAs), foreign nationals who are known or suspected terrorists, have been arrested by U.S. law enforcement officials. While not all SIAs are confirmed terrorists, many have demonstrated suspicious travel patterns to terror-linked nations or have interacted with other known or suspected terrorists.
One policy change the Biden administration could enact to mitigate the entry of migrants with ties to extremist groups would be resuming the construction of the border wall. Countless migrants unlawfully enter the country by taking advantage of exposed areas along the border. Preventing the entry of terrorists should be a common-sense approach to keeping Americans safe. Moreover, having more border agents would decrease the possibility of illegal aliens who may be terrorists fleeing capture.
This border crisis has attracted large numbers of migrants from across the globe. If President Biden intends to fulfill his oath of keeping the U.S. safe, he must end his disastrous policies at the southern border.