[This piece has been published in Restoring America to highlight how the Biden administration's refusal to secure the southern border is a threat to our national security.]
We saw two examples late last month alone of the huge national security threat we face thanks to President Joe Biden’s open-border policies.
First, we learned that a man on the terrorist watch list was allowed into the U.S. and it took 13 days for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to obtain authorization to rearrest him. The same day, news broke that the FBI had uncovered a plot by ISIS to smuggle alien assassins into the U.S. through the southern border to kill former President George W. Bush.
In a September memo to the ICE acting director, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas outlined threats to national security as the first priority for immigration enforcement. The memo read in part:
A noncitizen who engaged in or is suspected of terrorism or espionage, or terrorism-related or espionage-related activities, or who otherwise poses a danger to national security, is a priority for apprehension and removal.
If the department’s actions matched Mayorkas’ words, it might be in line with the real mission of the Department of Homeland Security; namely, to protect the homeland. Sadly, Biden’s DHS does not actually follow through with enforcing the law and safeguarding our country.
Biden’s DHS has caught and released more than 756,000 aliens (including 125,000 mostly smuggled , unaccompanied children) at the southern border under the absurd notion that they will honor their Notices to Report to ICE facilities or Notices to Appear in immigration court.
These numbers don’t even include the more than 620,000 “got-aways.” Altogether, that amounts to almost 1.4 million unvetted aliens that have crossed the border under this administration.
With these record-high border encounters and got-aways, and only 42 migrants on the terrorist watchlist apprehended at the border under Biden, there’s a huge probability that more suspected terrorists are currently in the country. We simply don’t know how many have succeeded in evading the overworked, underresourcedBorder Patrol.
After 9/11, countless hours of work went into creating systems for vetting flights and visas. Tools such as the Terrorist Screening Database, the no-fly list, and Visa Security Program are effective, but are rendered all but meaningless if terrorists can illegally cross the porous southwest border and bypass the entire vetting process.
For example, one thing the Terrorist Screening Database is designed to track is special-interest aliens , illegal immigrants with unusual travel patterns that could potentially indicate national security threats. Border Patrol agents have apprehended aliens from 157 different countries at the border.
With an alarming number of aliens being smuggled into the U.S. and minimal operational control of the border under current conditions, there’s absolutely no way to promptly and effectively vet aliens coming from that many different countries. It is, therefore, no surprise that now, special-interest aliens can easily find their way into the U.S. without surveillance.
It’s evident that the Biden administration’s reckless policies (including the attempted lifting of Title 42 ) are continually exacerbating the border crisis it created and are opening our nation’s borders to terrorist threats originating from all over the world.
Recently, an Iraqi native, identified as Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, was arrested in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate Bush.
Shihab is linked to both Al-Raed (a Qatari-based terrorist group) and ISIS. He was granted entry into the U.S. via a non-immigrant visa and currently has a pending asylum application under review. He was said to be regularly conducting surveillance of Bush’s home and offices, as well as acquiring firearms and vehicles needed to complete the assassination attempt.
The plot targeting Bush was advanced, strategic, and targeted. Perhaps not surprisingly, Shihab is said to have planned to smuggle terrorists into the U.S. through the open southern border to carry out the plot.
Shihab, a former Baath party member and current political exile from Iraq, was in alliance with upwards of six other Al-Raed and ISIS affiliates. The group used the instant messaging app WhatsApp to coordinate plans and duties. Shihab was unaware that the group chat included FBI informants.
He bragged that he had previously smuggled Hezbollah operatives through the southern border, was willing to smuggle families for money, and planned to help the others involved in the assassination plot enter illegally at the southern border as well.
This advanced plot to take the life of a former U.S. president confirms that a weakened border creates an environment for terrorist attacks to germinate.
In another example of the Biden DHS’s failure to carry out its mission, a suspected terrorist was released into the United States with a GPS monitoring device as an “alternative to detention” (which we know is a bogus replacement for detention of aliens). After the FBI flagged the possible threat, ICE was not able to obtain authorization to rearrest him until 13 days later.
Such an alien should have never been allowed into our communities and onto our streets, and the administration should be ashamed of delaying his rearrest.
At the helm of Biden’s Department of Homeland Security, Mayorkas has completely neglected his duty by not having any sort of answer regarding the location of suspected terrorists caught attempting to infiltrate our southern border.
The open border is not a joke or a game. Allowing unvetted or poorly vetted aliens into the country is irresponsible at best and is deliberately gambling with American lives .
Biden’s weak policies allow smugglers and terrorists the opportunity to exploit an underdefended southern border and, as a result, American citizens are being exposed to increased risk of potential terrorist attacks.
The ramifications of the Biden administration’s open-border policies have already been exposed. If terrorists can easily pose as asylum seekers and abuse the laws so egregiously, it raises the question: How many domestic terrorist attacks are currently being planned?
The Biden border crisis is not just a border crisis, nor just an illegal immigration problem. It’s the most obvious, preventable national security threat we face.
Congress must do everything possible to neutralize that threat.
This piece originally appeared in theDaily Signaland is reprinted with kind permission from the Heritage Foundation.