The Republican leaders of three House committees pointed out that 96 individuals on the terrorism watchlist have been caught at the U.S. southern border over the last seven months. It begs the question, the congressmen added, of how other many terrorists are "gotaways" who avoided detection while crossing the border.
House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, and Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green called the threat of terrorists entering through Joe Biden's open border a “clear national security risk” and demanded the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submit its plan for stopping the surge.
“There is a growing risk that dangerous aliens with terrorist ties are making it across the border into the United States. This is a clear national security risk. We need to know that the Department of Homeland Security is making every effort to handle the risks presented by gotaways with potential terrorist ties,” Comer said.
Comer, Jordan, and Green pointed to the 1.5 million illegal immigrants known to have entered and evaded capture as so-called “gotaways.”
“We fear these known gotaways could also include illegal aliens with terrorist ties,” the chairmen wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Team Biden, in previous communications to Congress, insisted that individuals with terrorism ties who are caught at the border are “detained and removed.” But the GOP chairmen pointed to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) website, which says they “may” be detained and removed “to the extent possible” under law and policy.
Seven months into Fiscal Year 2023, border agents have already detained as many individuals with terror ties as they did in all of 2022 — which itself shattered previous records.
In April alone 16 terrorism suspects were apprehended at the border. The entire four years of the Trump administration saw just 11 apprehensions total.
Comer, Jordan, and Green asked Mayorkas to turn over the immigration files and detention history of all illegal immigrants caught at the southwest border who were flagged as terror threats during the Biden administration. They also asked for Homeland Security’s estimates of terrorism suspects within the population of gotaways.
Last year, the FBI accused an Iraqi man of trying to orchestrate an assassination plot against former President George W. Bush using an Islamic State hit squad he planned to sneak in over the southern border.
The FBI said Shihab Shihab ran a smuggling operation, and in a conversation with an FBI informant claimed he had already smuggled two Hizbullah operatives in, charging them $50,000 apiece.
Shihab, who came to the U.S. in 2020 on a visitor’s visa and then filed an asylum claim, pleaded guilty last month to attempting to provide material support to terrorists for his role in the assassination plot. He is awaiting sentencing.
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