There are at least 7,518 reasons to get the U.S./Mexican border under control. That equals the number of aliens apprehended in fiscal year 2011 from the four nations the U.S. government labels “state sponsors of terrorism” and ten additional “countries of interest.” Since January 2010, those flying into America via these 14 nations face enhanced screening; as the Transportation Security Administration announced, “Effective aviation security must begin beyond our borders.” U.S. national security merits at least that much vigilance on our borders.
The roaring immigration-reform debate this year largely addresses Hispanic aliens who illegally cross the border. Far more worrisome, however, are the thousands who break into America from countries “where we have concerns, particularly about al-Qaeda affiliates,” a top State Department official told CNN.
These include Cubans, Iranians, Sudanese, and Syrians whose governments are federally designated “state sponsors of terrorism.” As indicated by the latest information in Table 34 of Customs and Border Protection’s Immigration Yearbook 2011, 198 Sudanese were nabbed while penetrating the USA. Between FY 2002 and 2011, there were 1,207 such arrests. (These figures cover all U.S. borders, although, as Table 35 confirms, 96.3 percent of the overall detainee population intruded from Mexico.) Like other immigrants, most Sudanese seek better lives here. But some may be vectors for the same militant Islam that literally tore Sudan in two.
In FY 2011, 108 Syrians were stopped at our borders; over ten years, the number is 1,353. Syria is a key supporter of Hezbollah, and Bashar Assad’s unstable regime reportedly has attacked its domestic opponents with chemical weapons.
As for Iranians, 276 were caught in FY 2011, while 2,310 were captured over the previous ten years. Iran also backs Hezbollah, hates “the Great Satan,” and craves atomic weapons.
The other ten “countries of interest” are Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, and:
Afghanistan: The Taliban’s stronghold and current theater of America’s longest war. Afghans halted in FY 2011: 106. Prior ten fiscal years: 681.
Nigeria: The land of underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab suffers under sharia law in its northern provinces. Respective data: 591, 4,525.
Pakistan: Hideaway of the Pakistani Taliban and the late Osama bin Laden. 525, 10,682.
Saudi Arabia: Generous benefactor of radical imams and militant mosques worldwide; birthplace of 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers. 123, 986.
Somalia: Home of Indian Ocean pirates and al-Qaeda’s al-Shabaab franchise. In October 1993, Islamic terrorists there shot down two Black Hawk helicopters, killed 18 U.S. soldiers, and dragged several of their bodies through Mogadishu’s streets. 323, 1,524.
(For further details, please peruse the spreadsheet attached here.)
At a Capitol Hill hearing last July, Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano conceded that terrorists enter the U.S. via the U.S./Mexican border “from time to time.”
The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight last November published A Line in the Sand: Countering Crime, Violence, and Terror at the Southwest Border. As this study explained:
The Congressional Research Service reports that between September 2001 and September 2012, there have been 59 homegrown violent jihadist plots within the United States. Of growing concern and potentially a more violent threat to American citizens is the enhanced ability of Middle East terrorist organizations, aided by their relationships and growing presence in the Western Hemisphere, to exploit the Southwest border to enter the United States undetected.
A Line in the Sand offers chilling portraits of some who treat the southern border as America’s welcome mat.
• On January 11, 2011, U.S. agents discovered Said Jaziri in a car trunk trying to enter near San Diego. Said said that he had traveled from his native Tunisia to Tijuana and paid smugglers $5,000 to sneak him across the border. The French government previously convicted and deported Jaziri for assaulting a Muslim whom he considered insufficiently devout. In 2006, Jaziri advocated killing Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard for creating what Jaziri called sacrilegious drawings of the Prophet Mohammed.
• Somalia’s Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane told authorities in 2011 that he earned up to $75,000 per day smuggling East Africans into America. His clients included three al-Shabaab terrorists. As the House report states: “Dhakane cautioned that each of these individuals is ready to die for their cause and would fight against the United States if the jihad moved from overseas to the U.S. mainland.”
• On June 4, 2010, Anthony Joseph Tracy (a.k.a. Yusuf Noor) was convicted of conspiring to slip aliens into America. Tracy told federal investigators that Cuban diplomats used his travel agency in Kenya — Noor Services Ltd. — to transfer 272 Somalis to Havana. They proceeded to Belize, through Mexico, and then trespassed into the U.S. Tracy, who converted to Islam in prison in the 1990s, claims he refused to assist al-Shabaab. But officials discovered an e-mail in which he casually wrote: “i helped a lot of Somalis and most are good but there are some who are bad and i leave them to ALLAH . . . ”
And remember: These anecdotes and statistics involve individuals whom authorities intercepted. No details exist about aliens from these countries who successfully have infiltrated America.
— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.