The War on Terror at the Mexican Border

The border situation, at its core, is not an economic issue, a cultural issue, or a racial issue. It is a national security issue. 

The record is unmistakably clear.

In 2001 [1], the brother of a Hezb'allah military chief illegally entered the United States by crossing the Mexican border. He then settled in Dearborn, Michigan and raised money for Hezb'allah [2].

In 2002, illegal immigrants from Lebanon who were thought to have ties to Hezb'allah were smuggled into the United States via the Mexican border, according to a congressional report:

In December 2002, Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, a café owner in Tijuana, Mexico, was arrested for illegally smuggling more than two hundred Lebanese illegally into the United States, including several believed to have terrorist ties to Hezbollah [3].

The congressional report also revealed that the FBI has confirmed that persons from al-Qaeda-linked nations have been known to disguise themselves as Hispanic immigrants:

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller has confirmed in testimony "that there are individuals from countries with known al-Qa'ida connections who are changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic-sounding names and obtaining false Hispanic identities, learning to speak Spanish and pretending to be Hispanic Immigrants [4].

Furthermore, the report contained this sobering assessment of the border situation by Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr., sheriff of Zapata County in Texas:

I dare to say that at any given time, daytime or nighttime, one can get on a boat and traverse back and forth between Texas and Mexico and not get caught. If smugglers can bring in tons of marijuana and cocaine at one time and can smuggle 20 to 30 persons at one time, one can just imagine how easy it would be to bring in 2 to 3 terrorists or their weapons of mass destruction across the river and not be detected. Chances of apprehension are very slim [5].

And terrorists indeed have set their eyes on the vulnerability of our border.

Just last year, an al-Qaeda recruiting video put forth this plot:

Four pounds of anthrax -- in a suitcase this big -- carried by a fighter through tunnels from Mexico into the U.S. are guaranteed to kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour if it is properly spread in population centers there. What a horrifying idea; 9/11 will be small change in comparison....There is no need for airplanes, conspiracies, timings and so on [6].

Yet plotting to take advantage of the Mexican border is not new to al-Qaeda.

Back in 2004, a Time magazine article reported that captured al-Qaeda operative, Sharif al-Masri, had said that al-Qaeda had considered smuggling nuclear materials into the United States through Mexico. The article also revealed that "U.S. and Mexican intelligence conferred about reports from several al-Qaeda detainees indicating the potential use of Mexico as a staging area "to acquire end-stage chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material" [7].

A year after the Time magazine article appeared, Representative John Culberson of Texas told Fox News:

I ... went to Laredo, went to the Rio Grande River, saw firsthand the War on Terror going on there. And the Hudspeth County sheriff, Arvin West, and the Brewster County, Ronnie Dodson, confirmed for me that they had an al-Qaeda terrorist, an Iraqi national who was on the FBI's terrorist list as an al-Qaeda member in the Brewster County jail [8].

Representative Culberson accurately described the border crisis as "The War on Terror."

Every day the border remains virtually open, the national security risk becomes more dire. Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr. told a subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security:

We are seeing more and more persons coming across our southwestern border than ever before. From what we are seeing, we feel that most of these persons are not coming into the country to look for legitimate employment. We feel that terrorists are already here and continue to enter our country on a daily basis [9].

Clearly, the open border is not an open question. The case is closed. The border should be, too. It is time that these devastating facts be brought to light in the national political arena. Our survival as a nation depends upon it. The enemy is invading, and our drawbridge is down.

Footnotes:

[1] "Hezbollah uses Mexican drug routes into U.S." March 27, 2009 Sara A. Carter, The Washington Times
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/27/hezbollah-uses-mexican-drug-routes-into-us/?page=2

[2]"A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border" p. 29-30.  http://www.house.gov/sites/members/tx10_mccaul/pdf/Investigaions-Border-Report.pdf

[3]"A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border" p. 30.  http://www.house.gov/sites/members/tx10_mccaul/pdf/Investigaions-Border-Report.pdf

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] "EXCLUSIVE: Al Qaeda eyes bio attack from Mexico," Sara A. Carter, June 3, 2009,The Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/03/al-qaeda-eyes-bio-attack-via-mexico-border/

[7]"Bordering On Nukes?" Adam Zagorin, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2004
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101041122-782068,00.html

[8]"Exclusive! Rep. John Culberson," November 21, 2005, Fox News http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,176216,00.html

[9] "Written Testimony on "Examining Preparedness and Coordination Efforts of First Responders Along the Southwest Border" , Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr. Sheriff, Zapata County, Texas Chairman Southwestern Border Sheriff's Coalition,   Tuesday, March 31, 2009, p. 6 http://homeland.house.gov/SiteDocuments/20090331101204-32080.pdf
The border situation, at its core, is not an economic issue, a cultural issue, or a racial issue. It is a national security issue. 

The record is unmistakably clear.

In 2001 [1], the brother of a Hezb'allah military chief illegally entered the United States by crossing the Mexican border. He then settled in Dearborn, Michigan and raised money for Hezb'allah [2].

In 2002, illegal immigrants from Lebanon who were thought to have ties to Hezb'allah were smuggled into the United States via the Mexican border, according to a congressional report:

In December 2002, Salim Boughader Mucharrafille, a café owner in Tijuana, Mexico, was arrested for illegally smuggling more than two hundred Lebanese illegally into the United States, including several believed to have terrorist ties to Hezbollah [3].

The congressional report also revealed that the FBI has confirmed that persons from al-Qaeda-linked nations have been known to disguise themselves as Hispanic immigrants:

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller has confirmed in testimony "that there are individuals from countries with known al-Qa'ida connections who are changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic-sounding names and obtaining false Hispanic identities, learning to speak Spanish and pretending to be Hispanic Immigrants [4].

Furthermore, the report contained this sobering assessment of the border situation by Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr., sheriff of Zapata County in Texas:

I dare to say that at any given time, daytime or nighttime, one can get on a boat and traverse back and forth between Texas and Mexico and not get caught. If smugglers can bring in tons of marijuana and cocaine at one time and can smuggle 20 to 30 persons at one time, one can just imagine how easy it would be to bring in 2 to 3 terrorists or their weapons of mass destruction across the river and not be detected. Chances of apprehension are very slim [5].

And terrorists indeed have set their eyes on the vulnerability of our border.

Just last year, an al-Qaeda recruiting video put forth this plot:

Four pounds of anthrax -- in a suitcase this big -- carried by a fighter through tunnels from Mexico into the U.S. are guaranteed to kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour if it is properly spread in population centers there. What a horrifying idea; 9/11 will be small change in comparison....There is no need for airplanes, conspiracies, timings and so on [6].

Yet plotting to take advantage of the Mexican border is not new to al-Qaeda.

Back in 2004, a Time magazine article reported that captured al-Qaeda operative, Sharif al-Masri, had said that al-Qaeda had considered smuggling nuclear materials into the United States through Mexico. The article also revealed that "U.S. and Mexican intelligence conferred about reports from several al-Qaeda detainees indicating the potential use of Mexico as a staging area "to acquire end-stage chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material" [7].

A year after the Time magazine article appeared, Representative John Culberson of Texas told Fox News:

I ... went to Laredo, went to the Rio Grande River, saw firsthand the War on Terror going on there. And the Hudspeth County sheriff, Arvin West, and the Brewster County, Ronnie Dodson, confirmed for me that they had an al-Qaeda terrorist, an Iraqi national who was on the FBI's terrorist list as an al-Qaeda member in the Brewster County jail [8].

Representative Culberson accurately described the border crisis as "The War on Terror."

Every day the border remains virtually open, the national security risk becomes more dire. Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr. told a subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security:

We are seeing more and more persons coming across our southwestern border than ever before. From what we are seeing, we feel that most of these persons are not coming into the country to look for legitimate employment. We feel that terrorists are already here and continue to enter our country on a daily basis [9].

Clearly, the open border is not an open question. The case is closed. The border should be, too. It is time that these devastating facts be brought to light in the national political arena. Our survival as a nation depends upon it. The enemy is invading, and our drawbridge is down.

Footnotes:

[1] "Hezbollah uses Mexican drug routes into U.S." March 27, 2009 Sara A. Carter, The Washington Times
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/27/hezbollah-uses-mexican-drug-routes-into-us/?page=2

[2]"A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border" p. 29-30.  http://www.house.gov/sites/members/tx10_mccaul/pdf/Investigaions-Border-Report.pdf

[3]"A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border" p. 30.  http://www.house.gov/sites/members/tx10_mccaul/pdf/Investigaions-Border-Report.pdf

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] "EXCLUSIVE: Al Qaeda eyes bio attack from Mexico," Sara A. Carter, June 3, 2009,The Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/03/al-qaeda-eyes-bio-attack-via-mexico-border/

[7]"Bordering On Nukes?" Adam Zagorin, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2004
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101041122-782068,00.html

[8]"Exclusive! Rep. John Culberson," November 21, 2005, Fox News http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,176216,00.html

[9] "Written Testimony on "Examining Preparedness and Coordination Efforts of First Responders Along the Southwest Border" , Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr. Sheriff, Zapata County, Texas Chairman Southwestern Border Sheriff's Coalition,   Tuesday, March 31, 2009, p. 6 http://homeland.house.gov/SiteDocuments/20090331101204-32080.pdf