As Israel battles Hamas on its southern border, evidence is gradually coming to light that the crisis the US is facing on its southern border may also come to include the same Palestinian terrorist organization.
The war in Israel moved closer to home last week when Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) wrote a letter to Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, calling on him to deport any foreign national who has expressed support for Hamas.
“I write to urge you to immediately deport any foreign national—including and especially any alien on a student visa—that has expressed support for Hamas and its murderous attacks on Israel,” Cotton wrote to Mayorkas in a letter dated Monday. “These fifth columnists have no place in the United States.”
As the basis for his request, Cotton cited federal law which states “that any alien who “endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or support a terrorist organization” is inadmissible and must be deported.
Cotton linked the issue to “the appalling explosion of anti-Semitism in the United States over the past few weeks”.
Cotton is not alone. Last week, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) expressed his concerns in a radio interview on the Clay and Buck Show.
“I’m scared to death of who’s coming into our country over the last three years. We saw it didn’t take a lot of people and it didn’t take a lot of money to do what Hamas did in Israel,” Scott said. “So how many Hamas supporters do we have in our country? How many terrorists have come across our southern border? We actually have no idea anymore because we have no control over our border.”
“We know Hamas wants to be here. Hezbollah wants to be here. We know terrorists want to be here. So I’m very concerned,” Scott said. “This is probably the scariest time in my life because we can be attacked right here on our soil, and our ally Israel has clearly been attacked.”
FBI director Christopher Wray gave a grim phone briefing to journalists last week.
“The threat is very much ongoing and in fact, the threat picture continues to evolve,” Wray said. “Here in the U.S., we cannot and do not discount the possibility that Hamas or other foreign terrorist organizations could exploit the conflict to call on their supporters to conduct attacks on our own soil.”
The Department of Homeland Security issued an assessment over the weekend saying that ‘targeted violent attacks may increase as the conflict progresses’. DHS officials told law enforcement agencies in Washington that the conflict ‘almost certainly will increase the threat of terrorism’.
Customs and Border Protection issued a memo last week warning of a Hamas threat entering the US via the southern border.
“Individuals inspired by or reacting to the current Israel-Hamas conflict may attempt to travel to or from the area of hostilities in the Middle East via circuitous transit across the Southwest border,” read the memo from the CBP’s San Diego field office.
After the memo was revealed in the Daily Caller, the CBP tried to downplay the threat.
“CBP has seen no indication of Hamas-directed foreign fighters seeking to make entry into the United States,” a spokesperson said.
These fears are based on fact. Customs and Border Protection encountered over 7 million illegal aliens since January 2021, a figure that does not include the more than 1.5 million known “gotaways” who evaded the Border Patrol. At least 172 migrants that Customs and Border Protection has apprehended between ports of entry matched those on the terrorist watchlist during fiscal year 2023. This compares to three in 2020. That’s an increase of over 5,000%.
Last month, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement held a hearing titled “Terrorist Entry Through the Southwest Border” to discuss the record-high encounters of aliens on the Terrorist Watch List as well as the mass release of unvetted aliens into U.S. communities.
This is despite the passing of the Secure the Border Act earlier this year which, in theory, ensures that terrorists cannot freely enter the United States through our southern border.
This was also documented in a staff report on “9/11 and Terrorist Travel” published in 2004 by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
“In July 2001,” said the report, “the CIA warned of a possible link between human smugglers and terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that since 1999 human smugglers have facilitated the travel of terrorists associated with more than a dozen extremist groups.”