A former head of Border Patrol issued a dire warning about President Joe Biden’s ever-worsening migrant crisis. His remarks highlighted an aspect of mismanaged immigration policies often overlooked: the threat of radical extremist attacks on American soil.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have indicated they are focused on domestic terrorist attacks. But as the Afghanistan War ends, it seems appropriate to take a harder look at potential issues at the U.S. southern border.
Head of Border Patrol Issues Warning
Rodney Scott, who recently resigned from his position as Border Patrol chief, addressed 19,000 agents before stepping down on Aug. 14. During his remarks, he stressed the importance of national security when seeking solutions to the migrant crisis. In a video message obtained by the Washington Examiner, Scott explained that he typically sees people framing Border Patrol’s mission as solely an immigration issue. However, he sees it as something more:
“I firmly believe that it is a national security crisis. Immigration is just a subcomponent of it, and right now, it’s just a cover for massive amounts of smuggling going across the southwest border — to include TSDBs at a level we have never seen before. That’s a real threat.”
“TSDB refers to known or suspected terrorists, as identified in the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database,” according to the Examiner, which also noted that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “told members of Congress that federal law enforcement had stopped four people on the terror watchlist,” shortly after Biden took office in January 2021.
Taking a Lesson From Europe?
Some have downplayed the threat of radical Islamic terrorists gaining entry into the United States through the southern border. Even some government officials intimated this would not be an avenue through which the Islamic State (ISIS) or Al Qaeda would infiltrate the country. It appears they believe the absence of terrorist attacks perpetrated by individuals who entered illegally indicates these extremist organizations would not attempt to use America’s porous border to smuggle operatives into the country.
However, even a cursory look at how extremist groups capitalized on Europe’s migrant crisis demonstrates that disregarding this possibility might be dangerous. Indeed, terrorists have already told the world how they plan to exploit immigration for their own ends. In 2015, ISIS brazenly declared it would “flood” Europe with hundreds of thousands of Libyan immigrants as an attack on the West. The Daily Mail reported:
“Transcripts of telephone intercepts published in Italy claim to provide evidence that ISIS is threatening to send 500,000 migrants simultaneously out to sea in hundreds of boats in a ‘psychological weapon’ against Europe if there is military intervention against them in Libya.”
The report also noted: “the militants hope to cement their control of Libya then cross the Mediterranean disguised as refugees, according to letters seen by Quilliam the anti-terror group.”
But it doesn’t stop there.
BuzzFeed interviewed an ISIS operative in 2015 who claimed more than 4,000 terrorists had been secreted into Western nations, hiding among refugees. He “said the fighters intend to fulfill ISIS’s threat to stage attacks in the West,” according to the news site.
The terrorist attacks that have occurred in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and others demonstrate these are not idle threats. For example, in England, on May 22, 2017, 22-year-old Salman Abedi walked into the foyer of the Manchester Arena with a backpack loaded with explosives and killed 22 adults and children at an Ariana Grande concert.
On Nov. 13, 2015, a group of radical extremists carried out a series of shootings and bomb attacks in Paris, killing more than 120 people. These men were ISIS operatives, and at least one came to the country concealed among refugees migrating from the Middle East.
These are only a few examples of terrorist attacks Europe has experienced. Indeed, at one point, radical Islamic extremists carried out strikes every nine days in European nations.
Will This Be Taken Seriously?
Scott’s warning is worth taking seriously given the fact that groups like Al Qaeda seem to be making a resurgence and the rapid Taliban takeover of Afghanistan shows it is also on the rise once again. Indeed, it is already known that organizations like Hezbollah and ISIS are somewhat active in South and Central America. However, it appears the Biden administration is not sufficiently concerned about this issue.
The Examiner reported that “Biden administration officials were forcing out Scott at Border Patrol headquarters in Washington after 16 months on the job”:
“One person with firsthand knowledge of Scott’s decision said in May that Scott was told to retire, resign, or move away from headquarters. The decision by Scott’s bosses was ‘completely driven by politics,’ even though Scott’s position is apolitical and he is a 29-year employee of the Border Patrol.”
While the administration did not give a reason for ousting Scott, its lax approach to border security is clearly at odds with a Border Patrol leader who takes a more hawkish approach to the matter. Either way, if the White House does not take the action necessary to prevent terrorists from crossing the southern border, it might have yet another crisis on its hands.
Read more from Jeff Charles.