The general impression that people have of those illegally crossing our southern border is that they’re from Spanish-speaking Central American countries. It used to be Mexican immigrants, now it’s migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and other countries south of Mexico.
In San Antonio, they’re perfectly used to this. There’s no shortage of representatives of officialdom who can habla español. However, there aren’t a whole lot who can parle français — and that’s actually a significant problem.
See, according to KENS-TV, the city has seen a surge in immigrants from Africa, particularly from two French-speaking countries.
“Roughly 350 migrants from the Congo are expected to arrive in San Antonio in the coming days leaving the city scrambling for French-speaking volunteers,” KENS reported Thursday.
Interim Assistant City Manager Dr. Collen Bridger told KENS “the Congolese migrants began to arrive in town on Tuesday. They told Migrant Resource Center workers, they traveled with a group of about 350 migrants through Ecuador to the southern border.”
“We didn’t get a heads up,” she told the station.
“When we called Border Patrol to confirm, they said, ‘yea another 200 to 300 from the Congo and Angola will be coming to San Antonio.”
While neither country is in full-blown civil war, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has had a long struggle with militants after a deadly civil war, with the United Nations trying — with varying degrees of success — to quell an insurgency in the east of the country. Angola is at peace, if not a particularly fantastic place to live.
One of the Congolese immigrants, Masengi, told KENS that he had come to the United States due to security concerns in his home country.
“My family is staying in my country but with the help of the USA I can get it back,” he told the station.
Meanwhile, the city doesn’t know what they’re going to do with the asylum-seekers.
“The plan was 350 of them would travel from San Antonio to Portland. When we reached out to Portland, Maine they said, ‘Please don’t send us any more. We’re already stretched way beyond our capacity,” Bridger said.
“So we’re working with them [the migrants] now to identify other cities throughout the United States where they can go and begin their asylum seeking process.”
The city is currently looking for French-speaking volunteers.
“If you speak primarily French and can come spend six, seven, eight hours, that would be really helpful,” Bridger said.
Please don’t misunderstand me: I don’t think we’re going to be flooded with economic migrants from Francophone Africa in the near future, nor would I consider it a major concern. As it is with all asylum-seekers, they should go through the court system and if they can’t establish credible fear they should be sent back.
The issue, instead, is that we’ve been told for years that the idea that terrorists could use our porous southern border to get in and launch an attack is some sort of far-right fever dream. These groups are far, far away, we’re told; how are they going to get to Mexico in order to get into the country?
Africa is a vast continent, but it’s one with several terrorist groups with various al-Qaida affiliations, including Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, Al-Shabab and Boko Haram.
While all three of those organizations generally have their focus set on Africa, if al-Qaida decided they wanted to carry out another terror attack on U.S. soil, going through any of them might not be the hardest way of doing it.
Unlike these individuals, they’re probably not going to be turning themselves into Border Patrol officials.
This is the biggest threat posed by the border crisis. It’s not just gang members entering the United States or criminal cartels profiting off of human trafficking — although those are both very real problems. Congolese and Angolan migrants also aren’t exactly an existential threat.
However, lest we forget, it only takes 19 individuals with training and determination to cause unspeakable harm to innocents. And with those 19, we knew they were in the country and should have known what they were up to.
If we don’t know who’s in the country, that presents a serious issue — one we can’t ignore.
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