One of the biggest security concerns for border residents in Texas is the possibility of an operational terrorist entering the state from Mexico. During the Texas Border Coalition’s annual meeting in Laredo, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw addressed this concern when a member of the audience asked the director if any suspected ISIS members had ever been apprehended on the Texas/Mexico border.
According to KGNS, McCraw stated:
“Individuals that come across the Texas-Mexican border from a countries with a known terrorism presence and the answer to that is yes. We have individuals that we’ve needed to debrief in Pashto/Dari. Not a lot of Pashto and Dari speakers around. But you can’t think about the last attack; you have to think of the next attack and where our vulnerabilities are. So, we’re concerned about that.”
The individuals McCraw is referring to used to be called Special Interest Aliens, or SIAs, by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). However, DHS dropped the term a few years ago for reasons of political correctness. SIAs are foreign nationals apprehended trying to enter the US from over thirty countries affiliated in some way with terrorism. Several hundred SIAs are apprehended along the southwest border every year from countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, and Somalia.
Hundreds of members and supporters of Hizballah are also known to have entered the US from Mexico, mostly through Tijuana into southern California. However, there is still no evidence to date that a member of ISIS or an operational terrorist from any other group has entered the US from Mexico with the intention of carrying out an attack. The easiest method for this to occur is still for operational terrorists to enter the US legally, usually by plane, using legitimate ID and travel documents.
Sylvia Longmire is a border security expert and Contributing Editor for Breitbart Texas. You can read more about cross-border issues in her latest book, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer.