‘This endeavor is especially critical now with thousands of aliens crossing our borders…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) An immigration watchdog filed a lawsuit against U.S. Customs and Border Protection this week after the agency failed to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request inquiring into the terrorist threat at the southern border.
The Center for Immigration Studies filed a FOIA request with CBP to find out how many apprehended illegal immigrants have been affiliated with terrorist groups over the past decade.
However, the border patrol agency failed to submit the requested information in the time limit set by federal statute.
“The Center has brought this action against CBP in an effort to secure access to government data that will enable us to examine the level of the terrorism threat at our nation’s borders,” Todd Bensman, a CIS senior national security fellow, said in a statement.
“The extent of the movement of Special Interest Aliens (SIAs) from countries like Syria, Iraq and Egypt is crucial to assessing terrorist potential,” it said. “This endeavor is especially critical now with thousands of aliens crossing our borders.”
The terrorism threat at the U.S.–Mexico border became an alarming subject after the Department of Homeland Security revealed that border patrol officials stopped six migrants affiliated with terrorist organizations in the first half of 2018.
“The threat is real,” then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wrote on Twitter. “The number of terror-watchlisted [individuals] encountered at our Southern Border has increased over the last two years. The exact number is sensitive and details about these cases are extremely sensitive.”
In 2018, the State Department released a report detailing how foreign governments deal with extremist groups and terrorism within their own borders.
It identified Latin America as an area of immediate concern, since terror threats intertwine with America’s illegal immigration crisis.
“Many Latin American countries have porous borders, limited law enforcement capabilities, and established smuggling routes. These vulnerabilities offer opportunities to foreign terrorist groups,” the report said.
When it was released, Bensman said the report offered a “rare and informative look at a security threat at our borders.”
“The report shows that smuggling routes through Latin America persist in providing the avenues for extremists, alongside benevolent migrants, to travel from nations where terrorist organizations plan and plot ways to harm the country,” Bensman said.