You know that damage control is in full effect when, three paragraphs into a story about four individuals on the U.S. terrorist watchlist trying to get into the country via the southern border, Axios’ Stef W. Kight writes: “Most migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border come from Mexico or Central America and are seeking asylum, family reunification or better jobs in the U.S.”
That is, in fact, accurate. In fact, she probably could have replaced the word “most” with “the vast majority of.”
The same way, when reporting on an incident where a sot with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.25 gets carried off a flight from London in plastic handcuffs after trying to kick down the cockpit door and screaming he’s going to take the sucker down, you could reasonably say, “The vast majority of people who drink bloody marys on transatlantic flights do so to relax, fall asleep or calm their nerves and don’t become violent or make terroristic threats.”
Yes, that’s true, but that’s not quite the point, is it?
The point, in this case, is that Customs and Border Protection confirmed to Congress on Tuesday that four people whose names matched individuals on the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database have been taken into custody at the southern border since Oct. 1, according to Axios. The information came from a congressional aide who was briefed on the matter.
Three of the individuals were from Yemen, and one was from Serbia.
“The four arrests are more than the number of similar people taken into custody during recent full fiscal years, according to the source. In fiscal 2018, six people from Yemen and Bangladesh were arrested,” Kight reported.
While there are often thousands of people on the FBI watchlist caught trying to enter the United States every fiscal year, most try to enter through airports. Given the security measures at airports — not to mention the fact passports are involved — stopping their entry is a relatively simple process.
This isn’t necessarily the case at the southern border, particularly in the midst of a migrant crisis.
It’s unclear when these four individuals were arrested, but in the months since President Joe Biden’s election, migration has soared and officials currently lack the capacity to process the deluge.
On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the Biden administration had enlisted the Federal Emergency Management Agency — which usually only helps out in disasters — “to assist in processing an increasing number of children and teenagers who have filled detention facilities at the southwest border, as criticism mounts over the treatment of young migrants.”
According to CBP, over 100,000 migrants were caught trying to enter the United States in February. In February 2020, that number was a little over 30,000.
According to Republican lawmakers, that has led to terrorists trying to exploit the chaos.
“Individuals that they have on the watchlist for terrorism are now starting to exploit the southern border,” Republican Rep. John Katko of New York said Monday. “We need to wake up.”
Katko made the comments as GOP leadership toured the southern border. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said CBP agents told him individuals from Iran, Yemen, Sri Lanka and China had been detained amid the rush.
Meanwhile, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News the border crisis was a “great way for terrorists to come into our country.”
“Word is out that the Trump policies are being replaced by the Biden administration [policy] that if you get one foot in America, you are never going to leave,” he told Sean Hannity on March 9.
“People will be coming … by the hundreds of thousands by the summer. It is a humanitarian crisis. It’s going to be an economic crisis for our cities along the border, and eventually is going to be a national security crisis, because they’re children today but they could easily be terrorists tomorrow.”
But as we’re told, these are serious exceptions to the rule. We’re also going to be told how that watchlist net is cast fairly wide. The FBI says it consists of individuals who are “known to be or reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activities.” We don’t know that they’re imminently planning on doing them.
Democrats are in denial.
➡️ There is a border crisis.
➡️ CBP confirms terror suspects have been caught crossing the border. pic.twitter.com/XIAf6NKbk1
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) March 16, 2021
Let’s note, first, that the four people whose names match those on the terrorist watchlist are those we’ve caught.
It also doesn’t take a whole lot of bad actors to change history.
One man shot Ronald Reagan. Unless you’re caught up in an Oliver Stone fever dream, one man shot John Kennedy. It took 19 hijackers to crash four planes and kill almost 3,000 people on 9/11.
So, yes, you can say, “Most migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border come from Mexico or Central America and are seeking asylum, family reunification or better jobs in the U.S.” We can debate how legitimate those asylum claims are, but that’s for another day.
Instead, what’s clear is that substantially more migrants are coming because Joe Biden promised to change our immigration and asylum policies, yet Biden also has no logistical solution to deal with the influx that rhetoric created.
As we try to put together some kind of workable plan to deal with this, we’re informed that, yes, migrants from overseas whose names match individuals on the terrorist watchlist have been caught at the border.
I’m not worried about whether they were “seeking asylum, family reunification or better jobs.”
Instead, I’m wondering why this situation exists in the first place and why we have a president and an administration that have invited migration chaos without any plan to deal with it — and how terrorists might exploit it.
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