That’s the question we’re left to ask ourselves after reviewing new documents we obtained from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These records detail FY 2010 apprehension statistics for illegal alien smugglers and illegal aliens from countries considered a high threat to the United States because of their suspected ties to terrorism.
Here are the highlights from the documents, which we obtained pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request filed on January 26, 2011:
- U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 463,382 individuals smuggled across the border, including 8,905 smugglers. (3,027 of the smugglers apprehended were deemed “deportable.”)
- U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 59,017 “Other Than Mexican” illegal aliens through October 7, 2010.
- Among the nations represented in apprehension statistics are the four countries currently on the State Department’s list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism,” Cuba (712), Iran (14), Syria (5) and Sudan (5), as well as Somalia (9), Afghanistan (9), Pakistan (37), Saudi Arabia (5) and Yemen (11).
- Overall, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 663 “Aliens from Special Interest Countries.” These countries are deemed “special interest” because of their suspected ties to terrorism.
- The countries yielding the highest “Other Than Mexican” apprehensions include: Guatemala (18,406), El Salvador (13,723), and Honduras (13,580).
The U.S. Border Patrol estimates that three out of every four illegal aliens who cross the border evade apprehension. So while these apprehension statistics are alarming, it’s the ones that got away that should cause us the most concern. And I don’t think there’s any doubt that a significant number of these illegal aliens intend to do us harm. (You should also know that many of those “apprehended” simply cross the border illegally again within moments of being deposited in Mexico by Border Patrol.)
You may recall press reports last year that documented a Department of Homeland Security alert issued in May asking authorities in Texas to be on the lookout for a member of the Somali-based terrorist group Al Shabaab, who was suspected of hatching a plot to cross into the U.S. through Mexico.
The warning was issued following an unsealed indictment earlier in the month in a Texas federal court accusing a Texas Somali man of running a “large-scale smuggling enterprise” that brought hundreds of Somalis across the Mexican border. Many of these illegal aliens were suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations.
However, until now, the Obama administration offered little information regarding the overall scope of this growing national security problem. In fact, check out this border investigation by a local television station in Atlanta. A retired 30-year veteran of the federal immigration system told Atlanta’s WSB-TV, Channel 2, that the government is deliberately “keeping us in the dark” about the number of terrorists crossing the border.
No one should be surprised if terrorists take advantage of our porous borders in light of the Obama administration’s lax approach to border security. When you have an administration that pushes illegal alien amnesty, permits illegal alien sanctuary policies, and attacks states like Arizona for seeking to enforce the rule of law, it sends a signal to our enemies to cross the border illegally and to do their worst. The Obama administration continues to allow our borders to spiral out of control. These numbers are simply astonishing. Our country cannot secure our borders soon enough!
Judicial Watch has been investigating the border security crisis for years. In addition to forcing the release of documents detailing violent Mexican government incursions across the border, we’ve also focused heavily on the issue of smuggling. Click here to check out our map of drop-houses in Arizona that smugglers use to keep victims of smuggling captive while subjecting them to beatings and extortion.