by National Executive Committee member Peter Gemma
Former Chief of Operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Michael Braun, testified before Congress about Iran’s growing influence along the Mexican border. Braun said that the terrorist group Hezbollah has developed sophisticated relationships with Mexican drug cartels. “And by developing those relations it provides them with the ability to operate far from home in our neighborhood and – on our doorstep.”
U.S. Border patrol released its apprehension statistics for 2014, showing that 257,473 arrests of illegal aliens were from countries “other than Mexico,” including 1,191 suspects from Iran, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, nations with powerful terrorist cells.
Most illegal aliens crawl under fences to get here – then meld into a subterranean culture within American cities. From the Middle East, the route is different. NBC has reported that some illegal aliens pay $8-10,000 to get over the border safely; several investigative news reports uncovered price tags as high as $50,000. As part of the bigger picture, according to the German newspaper Zeit, ISIS nets as much as $3 million a day.
In addition to keeping terrorists out, there is a new problem: finding homegrown terrorists who are inspired, instructed, and recruited through the Internet. Congressman Michael McCaul, the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, states, “Terrorism has gone viral.”
So far this year, ISIS has published 1,700 pieces of “terrorist messaging,” including videos, pictorial reports and online magazines, according to deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center John Mulligan. A Brookings Institution report estimates 200,000 people receive an ISIS message each day around the world. It starts with about 2,000 “core” propagandists posting on Twitter and elsewhere, and then another 50,000 people “re-Tweet” and further distribute that messaging.
Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, summed-up the terrorism threats this way: “ISIS doesn’t have a navy, they don’t have an air force. The only way that ISIS is going to harm Americans is by coming through the southern border – which they already have. They aren’t flying B-1 bombers, bombing American cities, but they are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico … All you have to do is ask the border patrol.”
Sealing off the border is the promise of many politicians, but their delivery has gone from bad to worse. The Department of Homeland Security spends $4 billion annually deploying over 58,000 personnel with 16,875 vehicles, 269 aircraft, 300 watercraft, and 300 camera towers. It even uses aerial drones to enhance the scrutiny. From 2000 through 2012, the Border Patrol apprehends dropped by 78 percent. A February, 2013 Government Accountability Office report found that just 44 percent of the border was under “operational control,” 37 percent was “monitored,” and the rest “low-level monitored.” Despite more funding, the 2014 results were dismal: the department had built just 36 miles of two-tier fencing, 316 miles of single-tier fence, and another 299 miles of vehicle barriers that still allow pedestrians to cross.
The Constitution Party must be on the front lines of this fight. According to our platform, “We affirm the integrity of the international borders of the United States and the Constitutional authority and duty of the federal government to guard and to protect those borders.”