As Border Surge Continues, ISIS-Linked Individuals Cross into U.S. Interior
On Friday, reports surfaced that an all-time record was set in August for the most ever arrests of migrants who are part of a family group illegally crossing the U.S. southern border in one month. The news highlights an ongoing surge of migrants showing up at the border due to relaxed admittance policies put in place by the Biden administration, which is also attracting potential domestic terrorists, as reported by CNN this week.
Yet another record was also set this past month, as over half a million migrants who are part of “family member units” surrendered at the border over the last fiscal year. Overall, arrests at the border have sharply risen for the past three months, from 99,539 in June to 177,000 in August.
Since President Biden took office in January of 2021, his administration has consistently rescinded Trump-era policies aimed at curbing illegal border incursions. The Remain in Mexico program, which required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their case was heard in court, was halted in 2022. In addition, the Title 42 public health order that allowed for border-crossers to be deported quickly was allowed to expire in May.
Now, it appears that potential domestic terrorists are taking advantage of the mass of humanity at the border to cross over without being detected. On Wednesday, CNN reported that the FBI is investigating “more than a dozen migrants from Uzbekistan and other countries” that made into the U.S. interior with the help of a smuggler with ties to ISIS. As of now, U.S. officials have not been able to track down all of the individuals, and “more than 15 of the migrants tracked down are still under scrutiny by the FBI as possible criminal threats.”
The border situation is also beginning to prompt Democrats to publicly voice nervousness. During an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) stated that “Immigration is arguably this administration’s weakest issue. This is one area where our policy is dictated by politics, arguably more so than almost any other.” The remark prompted White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to defensively declare on Thursday that Biden “has done more to secure the border and to deal with this issue of immigration than anybody else. He really has!”
Still, members of Biden’s own party continue to demand stronger action to deal with the flood of migrants. In October, New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) bluntly told Biden’s aides, “there’s no leadership here” in the wake of over 100,000 migrants inundating the city. On August 24, New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) sent a letter to the president insisting he take executive action to help her state deal with the crush of migrants.
“For over a year, I have called for federal assistance and support for New York as we manage the unprecedented number of asylum seekers arriving in our state,” Hochul said in a press release. “New York cannot continue to do this on its own. It is past time for President Biden to take action and provide New York with the aid needed to continue managing this ongoing crisis.”
Meanwhile, observers are noting that Jean-Pierre’s comments don’t square with the facts at the border. “Since President Biden took office, more than 6.9 million illegal aliens have been encountered at America’s border, according to CBP. That does not include an unknown number of gotaways,” tweeted The Daily Signal’s Virginia Allen in response. Republicans like Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) also expressed disbelief.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he tweeted. “The president has done more to IGNORE the border than anybody else.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.