‘If we have an open border … and skip all of the vetting and checks we do when someone flies in to this country, eventually someone is going to take advantage…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A Jordanian man who lives in Mexico admitted that he helped smuggle dozens of Middle Eastern immigrants into the U.S. over the southern border two years ago.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Moayad Heider Mohammad Aldari, 31, pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to bring in illegal aliens” and his “role in a criminal scheme to smuggle Yemeni nationals and into the U.S. through Mexico.”
Aldari said he helped smuggle immigrants for financial gain, and now faces three to 10 years in prison.
“It just stands to reason, generally, that if we have an open border where people from countries with a large, terrorist presence—that would like to inflict harm on the United States—can just walk across the border, and skip all of the vetting and checks we do when someone flies in to this country, eventually someone is going to take advantage of it,” John Bas, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, said at a press conference.
Aldari admitted that he took the six Yemeni men from Monterrey, Mexico to Piedras Negras, Mexico—across from Eagle Pass near San Antonio, Texas—where the men waded across the Rio Grande into the U.S.
He gave at least two of the men hard hats and reflective vests so they could blend in once in the U.S., Bash said, adding that the men were headed to U.S. cities, including Chicago and New York.
Border Patrol intercepted all six of the terror suspects in the second half of 2017, after Aldari had helped them across the border.
An investigation by Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security revealed that Aldari had charged each man between $2,000 to $6,000 to get them across the border, officials said.
“Fortunately, these six were detained. But we don’t know how many other people he assisted in getting into this country,” Bash said.
Aldari’s lawyer, Rusty Guyer, argued that the immigrants Aldari smuggled in weren’t terrorists but refugees fleeing the political violence and turmoil that has resulted from Yemen’s ongoing civil war.
“This is just one more step toward being anti-Muslim,” Guyer said, adding that Aldari was arrested to further President Trump’s agenda. “It’s Trump persecuting Middle Easterners, primarily Muslims.”
A central component to the conflict in Yemen is whether the Middle Eastern country should align itself with extremist, pro-jihadist forces from central Africa or with the U.S.-allied Saudi Arabia, which says its southern neighbor is currently a hotbed for terrorist training.