October 19, 2021

GOP Blames Obama for ISIS Infiltration Threat From Mexico

Image: GOP Blames Obama for ISIS Infiltration Threat From Mexico

A Border Patrol vehicle moves along the Rio Grande at the U.S.-Mexico border in Rio Grande, Texas on Sept. 10. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Republicans expressed outrage Thursday at news reports that U.S. intelligence has intercepted social media discussions among Islamic State (ISIS) militants about infiltrating the country through the Mexico border.

“They do pose a direct threat to the homeland,” Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon charged to Newsmax. “We don’t know how many have come across the southern border. The border is as porous as a sieve.

“We have no idea how many of them have come across the border and pose a real threat,” he said. “We got caught flat-footed once in 2001. Let’s not let that happen again.”

Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino asked, “How do we know that we don’t have extremists or ISIS lone wolves in this country already? It doesn’t take much to talk some nut into strapping a bomb to himself and walking into a mall.”

Salmon’s Grand Canyon State colleague, Rep. Paul Gosar, said that “these savages who want to cause Americans harm have been paying close attention to the lax enforcement policies of this administration and have developed strategies to cross the border undetected.

“This administration must do more to secure the border before we have another attack on American soil,” Gosar said. “We simply cannot afford to let President Obama play political games in the name of appeasing liberal amnesty advocates.

“We must secure the border — period.”

Responding to a question from Sen. John McCain, Francis Taylor, undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, said on Wednesday that ISIS has discussed entering the United States at the South Texas border.

“There have been Twitter and social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

McCain, an Arizona Republican, had asked about “recent reports on Twitter and Facebook of messages that would urge infiltration into the U.S. across our southwestern border.”

“Certainly any infiltration across our border would be a threat,” Taylor said.

Arizona and Texas have been on the front lines in the illegal immigration debate amid the apprehension of thousands of migrants who have crossed into the country from Mexico since last year in anticipation of comprehensive reform.

More than 63,000 illegal immigrant minors have been arrested after crossing the Rio Grande River into South Texas between Oct. 1 and July. Most of them have been traveling alone.

The Obama administration estimates that as many as 90,000 young illegals could be taken into custody by the end of the month.

The deluge has created what President Barack Obama has described as “a humanitarian crisis,” but Republicans have fingered the administration’s lax enforcement of immigration laws as the culprit.

They also have cited news reports in Central American media that tout administration deportation policies that benefit some illegals.

But so far this fiscal year, the Obama administration has actually deported nearly 20 percent fewer illegals than the prior year, according to an analysis of Department of Homeland Security figures released on Thursday.

Between last Oct. 1 and July 28, 258,608 illegals have been sent home, compared with 320,167 people in the prior-year period. In addition, 344,624 people were deported in the period that ended in July 2012.

That represented 25 percent more illegals who were deported than this year, according to the analysis.

On Thursday, the White House pledged to Hispanic groups and other immigration-reform advocates that the president would take executive action on the issue by the end of the year.

In a high-profile Rose Garden speech in May, Obama vowed to issue executive orders by the end of the summer, but upset the groups when he reversed course last week, saying he would postpone action until after the November midterm elections.

The about-face stemmed from fears that any executive moves from Obama could cause the Democrats to lose the Senate.

But with intelligence reports saying the Islamic State is discussing coming into the country via Mexico — coupled with new CIA data saying that the terrorist group has as many as 31,500 fighters in Iraq and Syria alone — Republicans have stepped up their call for tougher action by the administration to secure the border.

“Defending Americans from attack starts with securing our borders and prosecuting illegal immigration,” Texas Rep. Steve Stockman told Newsmax. “President Obama must immediately commit to building the full border fence, deploying additional law enforcement to the border, detaining criminals, and punishing countries that refuse to accept repatriated illegals.”

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn said that Border Patrol officers have told her illegals of 75 different nationalities have been arrested after crossing the Rio Grande.

“Those are the ones that are apprehended,” she told Newsmax. “Those are the known-knowns. What you don’t know are the unknowns. Who else is coming in, and what are they bringing with them?”

New York Rep. Peter King said the situation demands that the United States be even more aware of the ISIS threat now.

“We definitely have to be on our guard,” King said. “That’s the type of thing that ISIS has to be considering.

“Obviously, the southern border is more porous and vulnerable,” the congressman said. “We have to absolutely be on our guard on the southern border.”

At Wednesday’s Senate hearing, Homeland Security’s Taylor said United States intelligence officials were skeptical that Mexican drug cartels would let jihadists use their turf to attack the U.S. because it would bring greater scrutiny and threaten their lucrative drug-smuggling activities.

Louisiana Rep. John Fleming dismissed that wariness out of hand to Newsmax.

“I would not trust the cartels to protect us in any way, shape or form,” he said. “That’s naïve and just a sense of denial of our administration to think that. The only people we can depend on in this conflict is ourselves and our close allies.

“To think that the cartels and the people who work for them are going to do the right thing, in the face of receiving probably lots of money from ISIS?” Fleming asked. “No, ISIS would grease their palms, they would get help — and they would deliver whatever they wanted to harm or kill American citizens.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.