WASHINGTON, DC – During a recent White House press briefing, the Biden Administration’s press secretary Jen Psaki seemingly downplayed the legitimate concerns associated with potential terrorists coming into the country via the vulnerabilities present in the southern border.
Specifically, Psaki wanted to “convey that these sets of incidents are very uncommon.”
— Jessica Vaughan (@JessicaV_CIS) April 6, 2021
On April 6th, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy made reference to the recent apprehensions of two suspected Yemeni terrorists along the southern border when asking Psaki the following:
“The FBI keeps a watch list of information about people who are known or are reasonably suspected of being involved in terror activities, two people on it from Yemen have been apprehended at the border.”
“How concerned is President Biden about terrorists possibly trying to take advantage of gaps in the border to get in and kill Americans?”
Psaki responded to said question, with an attempt to quell concerns by noting that suspected terrorists breaching the border is “very uncommon”:
“First let me convey that these types of incidents are very uncommon. And CBP and DHS can speak more to the timeline and the specifics, of course, in these particular cases and encounters. But encounters of known and suspected terrorists are very uncommon.”
Further along in Psaki’s answer to the inquiry, she portrayed the recent apprehensions of these suspected Yemeni terrorists as being illustrative of how great of a job the U.S. Border Patrol is currently doing with respect to tackling issues along the southern border:
“While this is rare this is a reflection of [Border Patrol] doing their jobs.”
When observing the total estimates of entries without inspection impacting the United States, press secretary Psaki is accurate in noting that it is “uncommon” to see suspected terrorists unlawfully entering the country.
(*Comments relevant to article start at the 6:02 mark in the press briefing video)
However, there is still an ongoing crisis along the southern border which is largely fueled by the appeal to exploit opportunistic vulnerabilities present along the border which is ostensibly exacerbated by the current administration’s stance and approach to immigration.
If anything in the past two decades can be extrapolated regarding the potential threat that a small number of people can pose when determined to inflict harm on American citizens, one needn’t look further than the attacks from September 11th, 2001.
In that case a grand total of 19 people were able to hijack four separate airplanes (5 people on three of the aircrafts and 4 on the other) and weaponized the aircrafts to have killed a total of 2,977 innocent people.
From a numbers perspective, that’s nearly 157 innocent lives taken for every terrorist that was involved in the hijacking of the aircrafts in 9/11.
So, while suspected or confirmed terrorists breaching the U.S. borders is uncommon, historical evidence paints a grim portrait of the dangers of these “uncommon” illegal entries pose.
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As referenced in the article, there were reportedly two Yemeni suspected terrorists apprehended by immigration officials in 2021.
We at Law Enforcement Today reported on said apprehensions earlier in April. Here’s that previous report.
EL CENTRO, CA- According to the Daily Mail, two Yemeni nationals were arrested in California and spent the last three months in Calexico, California.
Not a big deal, right?
Well in this case it is because both were on the FBI’s terrorist watch list.
The two men aged 33 and 26 were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents assigned to the El Centro, California station. The 26-year-old was apprehended on the night of March 30, according to Border Report.
Earlier this year on January 29, border agents arrested the 33-year-old in the same area.
According to CBP in a statement, the two banditos were on the U.S. government watch list for terrorism suspects and also appeared on the “no-fly” list.
“Part of the Border Patrol’s mission states we will protect the country from terrorists,” said Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino.
“Today, like every other day, our agents did that. These apprehensions at the border illustrates the importance of our mission and how we can never stop being vigilant in our everyday mission to protect this great country.”
The apprehension of the terror suspects will no doubt fuel further criticism from Congressional Republicans, who have been slamming the Biden administration’s open border policies which have led to a surge of illegals crossing into the United States.
Republicans have also previously warned that terrorists could be secreting themselves among those illegals entering the country and attempting to avoid detection.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the identities of the two terror suspects was not released, and their pictures had their faces redacted out. Officials said they had found a cellphone SIM card hidden underneath the insole of the 33-year-old suspect.
The Mail reported that in January 2018, a joint report was issued by Homeland Security and the Department of Justice which said that DHS had 2,554 “encounters” worldwide with people on the watch list who were trying to travel into the United States.
Of that number, 2,170 were trying to enter by air, 335 by land and the rest by sea.
In 2019, former President Donald Trump said during a Rose Garden speech that, “We have terrorists coming through the southern border because they find that’s probably the easiest place to come through. They drive right in and they make a left.”
The Mail noted that illegals have been pouring into the country at higher numbers since Biden was sworn in, taking advantage of his administration’s hands off approach to immigration.
In March alone, over 170,000 people entered the US over the southern border, giving that month the highest single-month total in over ten years.
The border patrol has said they are currently detaining around 5,000 people a day. Unaccompanied minors, meanwhile, are allowed to remain in the country, which has forced the administration to open a tenth temporary housing facility to attempt to ease overcrowded conditions at the facilities.
According to Todd Bensman, an analyst with the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that favors a harder stance on immigration and stronger defenses against possible terrorist infiltration had estimated in 2019 that around 20 terrorist suspects are detained at the U.S.-Mexico border every year.
While the federal government doesn’t disclose how many people are on the no-fly list, in 2016 Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said there were around 81,000 people on the list, less than 1,000 of whom are American citizens.
In March, a group of Republicans visited the border in El Paso, Texas, and reported that border agents told them that some people caught crossing the border were on the U.S. terror watchlist.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who traveled to the border on March 15 said after meeting with Border Patrol agents that he had been told people with links to terrorist organizations were among those rushing the border.
“It’s not just people from Mexico or Honduras or El Salvador,” he said.
“They’re now finding people from Yemen, Iran, Turkey. People on the terrorist watch list they are catching and they’re rushing in all at once.”
Republicans have slammed the Biden administration for eliminating virtually all of the restrictions put in place by the Trump administration which has opened the floodgates at the border.
The terrorists watch list is maintained by the FBI Terrorism Screening Center, run by the same agency that missed signs of possible trouble at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, which doesn’t lend itself to a lot of confidence in that agency’s ability to stop a terrorist from entering the country.
The list contains the names of people suspected or known to having been involved in terrorist activities, the FBI said.
A U.S. official told Reuters that overall, few of those caught trying to cross the border match people on the terror watch list.
According to the libertarian CATO Institute, from 1975 through 2017, seven people who entered the country illegally from so-called “special interest countries—those states tied at least loosely to terrorism—were convicted of planning attacks on U.S. soil.
Of those, none crossed from Mexico. They either came from Canada or jumped ship in U.S. ports, and all did so prior to special interest countries being classified as such.
All of the plots were foiled, and nobody was injured. The CATO Institute also said the only known terrorists who crossed the US border from Mexico during that time frame were three ethnic Albanians from Macedonia who entered the country as children with their parents in 1984.
When they were in their 20’s, they were arrested in a foiled plan to attack Fort Dix in New Jersey, a U.S. Army base in 2007, CATO said. Macedonia was not considered a special interest country.
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