(National Sentinel) Lunacy: There are increasing calls among leading Democratic candidates for president to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency as part of their effort to pander to the Marxist/anarchist Left-wing faction of the party.
But a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies not only highlights the good work that ICE agents do but also the fact that these men and women are vital to our country’s counterterrorism efforts.
In particular, the report notes a little-referenced reality: That there are established terrorist smuggling routes into the U.S., and that ICE agents play an important role in interdicting them.
From a CIS press release:
A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies examines the potential terrorist threat posed by the smuggling of special interest aliens (SIAs) – people coming from a country identified as having possible or established links to terrorism. SIA smuggling networks, which provide routes from the Middle East, South Asia, and North and West Africa, provide terrorists the capability of reaching and entering the U.S. across the Southwest border.
Since SIA immigration traffic is the only kind with a distinct and recognized terrorism threat, it’s apparent sidelining from the national debate is particularly puzzling.
During the last year of the Obama administration, the threat prompted a memo, obtained by the Center and published here for the first time, with orders demanding the “immediate attention” of the nation’s most senior immigration and border security leaders to produce an action plan to target “Cross-border Movement of Special Interest Aliens.”
These SIAs were being smuggled into the U.S. via the Middle East, North and East Africa, and South Asia.
Image source: CIS
“No serious consideration should be given to disbanding ICE without a complete understanding of the important and unheralded counterterrorism work these men and women are doing all over the globe, sight unseen,” says Todd Bensman, the Center’s senior national security fellow and author of the report.
“Nor any longer should national discussion about illegal immigration policy bypass the fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of migrants from the Middle East and other nations where terrorist organizations are active are also among Spanish-speaking migrants,” he continued.
“Homeland security professionals who make a living at this have long recognized that this small traffic represents a significant terrorism threat, and those interested in the debate should acknowledge this issue too.”
The report concluded, in part:
Former Secretary Johnson’s 2016 directive for a more integrated, whole-of-government approach to the SIA terrorism threat at the Southwest Border, relative to whatever efforts were already underway, did not occur in a vacuum. At the time, he and other national security leaders would have been aware that in 2015-2016 (and through 2017 to present), attacks by ISIS terrorist operatives, sympathizers, and returning fighters were afflicting European allies.
Many of these plots and attacks, particularly those involving high casualties in Paris and Brussels, were conducted by operatives who were smuggled camouflaged among millions of illegal immigrant asylum seekers.
In April 2018, for instance, a senior ISIS leader reportedly was apprehended in Turkey with three other operatives posing as Syrian war refugees preparing to be transported by human smugglers to Europe. Most of these attackers would have been identified as SIAs, in the American context, because they had traveled from “countries of interest”.
In the ongoing public debates about immigration enforcement, the absence of SIAs as even a consideration raises the prospect of high-consequence negligence.