‘Smuggling networks provide a permanent bridge for Islamic terrorists to follow in the path of Central American caravans …’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) As multiple migrant caravans traveled through Central America seeking asylum in the United States, President Donald Trump warned that Middle Eastern terrorists were mixed in with the travelers, and now a report from the Center for Immigration Studies confirms his claims.
Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. Must change laws!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2018
Without offering any evidence of their own to refute the president’s information, pundits in the mainstream media nonetheless dismissed Trump’s warnings as a political scheme prior to the November midterms.
“There is simply no evidence of terrorists in the caravan,” Aaron Blake wrote for The Washington Post, claiming that Republicans blindly accepted “Trump’s fearmongering.”
They were wrong.
Todd Bensman, senior national security fellow at CIS, traveled to Panama, a country through which terrorists reportedly had to pass before beginning the march toward America.
“Smuggling networks provide a permanent bridge for Islamic terrorists to follow in the path of Central American caravans in reaching the southern border,” Bensman said.
“This bridge is just as viable as the ones used by terrorists to continually conduct attacks in Europe. Luckily, and sometimes quite serendipitously, migrant terrorist suspects have been caught in Panama and in Costa Rica while en route.”
Before reporting on the ground, Bensman compiled a list of encounters that Border Patrol had with suspected terrorists at the southern border.
Public records showed that Border Patrol has arrested 15 suspected terrorists at the U.S.–Mexico border since 2001.
A larger study of information from “intelligence community sources with access to protected government information” found that more than 100 migrants at, or traveling to, the southern border were on U.S. terrorism watch lists, the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment and the Terrorist Screening Database.
The suspected migrant–terrorists had connections with al-Shabbab, al-Ittihad al-Islamiya, Hezbollah, the Pakistani Taliban, ISIS, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh and the Tamil Tigers.
At the Panama border, Bensman reported a shocking process: Hundreds of “special interest aliens”—migrants from countries with high terrorism rates—travel across the Panama border in buses everyday. Panama border authorities, with “equipment provided by U.S. taxpayers,” identify, photograph, fingerprint and take eye scans of the migrants.
Panama tries to weed out potential terrorists, then sends the migrants on their way toward the United States.
U.S. Homeland Security obtains the information to use for future processing.
The process is called “Controlled Flow,” and Costa Rica has a similar program for migrants, Bensman reported.
Once migrants reach Panama or Costa Rica, the governments grant them temporary amnesty and provide them with food, medicine and shelter. After a few days, government officials drive them to the next border, where they cross and the process continues. Central American governments, with the aid of the United States, facilitate their trip to America, where they hope to illegally cross the border or obtain asylum.
Bensman talked with a Pakistani migrant, a Bangladeshi migrant and four Iranian migrants, who all spoke candidly about obtaining visas via smugglers and traveling illegally through multiple countries.
“American policy makers and the public need to consider this traffic as the reality it is in any debate and policy creation about our borders, now confirmed through direct observation and in interviews with the migrants themselves by CIS,” Bensman said.