While most discussions of border security inevitably focus on illegal immigrants, just as disconcerting is the threat that terrorists may infiltrate the United States through our porous borders with Mexico and Canada. And, according to a recent investigation by the House Committee on Homeland Security, that threat is rising. Officials believe that Hizballah militants have already been smuggled into the United States.
While Congress and law enforcement appear to be renewing their focus on the possibility that terrorists may sneak into the United States from Mexico and Canada, the issue is not new. Terrorists have long used our neighbors to the North and South as paths into America.
- In 2000, millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam was arrested after his attempt to sneak explosives across the Canadian border in order to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport.
- In October 2009, Abdow Munye Abdow lied to FBI agents during questioning over whether or not he had smuggled Somalis into the United States from Mexico.
According to Arizona authorities, about half of the individuals captured sneaking into the United States come from countries including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Sudan. Speaking about the trend, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl lamented "one wonders whether some of them are coming in here to commit acts of terror."
The current situation poses a two-pronged problem. We may not be catching all of the terrorists attempting to infiltrate the U.S. On the other hand, once we catch them, they are usually deported, giving them another chance to come in and carry out devastating attacks. As Senator Kyl describes the situation: "not only does this create an illegal immigration dilemma, but it also creates a terrorism threat."