A Texas public safety official emphasized the threat of terrorist-supporters entering the U.S. through Texas during a House hearing on border security last week.
"A recent federal investigation in Texas underscores the seriousness of this homeland security threat," Steven C. McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, noted in written remarks.
On April 28th, a San Antonio court sentenced Somali national Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to making false statements on an asylum application. Dhakane failed to mention that he operated a human smuggling ring out of Brazil which brought at least seven known members of the al-Qaida-linked Somali terrorist group Al-Ittihad Al-Islami (AIAI) into the United States.
"Obviously, the San Antonio federal case of the Somalian is a significant concern, and underscores that this is not make-believe, that you can't secure your borders from foreign nationals penetrating them undetected and uninterdicted," McCraw testified during the hearing.
"It constitutes a threat. We'll always have to be mindful of that."
Though only seven of Dhakane's clients have been linked to terrorism, he smuggled hundreds of individuals total across the Texas border.
Dhakane's smuggling case is only a snapshot of the entire problem, McCraw said. Nearly three-quarters of "special interest" aliens – those from states tied to terrorist organizations – are arrested in Texas.
Counterterrorism experts are "mortified every time they look at the numbers of foreign nationals from countries with a known al-Qaida presence, or Hizballah or Hamas, that crossed the border, the Texas-Mexico border, that are detected and arrested," said McCraw.