A covert war is being waged along our southern border. Our enemies wish to exploit our national security weakness for nefarious activities that endanger innocent lives. Arizonans know this all too well, as did President Trump. The actions the former president took to improve security at our southern border were long overdue. In two short months, the Biden administration’s open border policies have destroyed much of the progress made over the past four years and undermine our national security.
On February 1, Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a group of 11 Iranian nationals who attempted to illegally cross the border. Border Patrol agents encountered and apprehended them near San Luis, Arizona. This year alone, Yuma Sector has apprehended 14 Iranian nationals. While it is unclear at this time what their intentions were, it is a concerning development. This is even more concerning in light of the recent announcement by federal law enforcement officials that authorities have arrested four people at the southern border who are in the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database. Iran is gaining a foothold in Latin America and seeks to place assets in the United States. In fact, this alliance nearly resulted in the largest terrorist attack on American soil post 9/11.
In 2011, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation prevented the assassination of Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Manssor Arbabsiar, a U.S. national, traveled to Mexico to meet with an associate of a Mexican drug cartel at the direction of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force operative Gholam Shakuri. Thankfully, the associate was an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration. However, it should not be forgotten that the Iranian government sought to pay the Mexican drug cartels to assassinate a foreign diplomat on American soil using C-4 plastic explosives.
The foiled assassination plot of former Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, who is now the Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, highlights the reach of the Iranian government and its growing influence with the drug cartels in Mexico and throughout Latin America. Since 2001, at least 15 foreign nationals with suspected or confirmed terrorist ties have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border or en route to it, including three with ties to Hezbollah. Additionally, Iran’s leaders have vowed vengeance against the United States following the one-year anniversary of the successful drone strike on the terrorist Qasem Soleimani.
This history, combined with the increased arrests of Iranian nationals illegally entering the country, raises questions to the extent and strength of the alliance between non-state actors at our southern border and a U.S. designated state sponsor of terror. Our enemies exploit our weaknesses to their strategic advantage. The very same weaknesses that are exploited by violent drug cartels like the Sinaloa Cartel or Los Zetas can be exploited by Iran and its proxies for espionage or much worse. Border security and strict enforcement of our immigration laws is the last line of defense for American national security.
Despite this troubling dynamic, what has Joe Biden done? Well, the Biden administration signed numerous executive orders reversing President Trump’s immigration security policies, which included issuing a 100-day moratorium on deportations and halting the construction of the border wall. How does this impact national security? Refusal to enforce our immigration laws and secure our border jeopardizes the lives of local law enforcement, federal law enforcement, and innocent Americans.
Furthermore, Iran is on the list of recalcitrant countries that don’t cooperate with U.S. deportations. Therefore, it is possible that Iranians apprehended at the border who might potentially be harboring nefarious intentions could be released within the United States simply because there is not enough evidence to prosecute them. That is why I have said time and time again that fully securing our border is our last line of defense. Joe Biden has made it clear that he places virtue signaling ahead of national security. Americans do not have time for woke national security policies and neither do I. President Biden, secure our border.
Dr. Paul Gosar represents Arizona’s 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.