A Congressional Homeland Security report accuses Venezuela of helping terrorists infiltrate the United States through Texas’ porous border with Mexico
The Subcommittee on Investigations of the House Homeland Security Committee found that the government of President Hugo Chavez has issued thousands of identity documents that could help terrorists elude immigration checks and illegally enter the United States.
Representative Michael McCaul, a first term Republican from Austin, chaired the subcommittee that produced the findings, “The potential is certainly there for terrorists to infiltrate the U.S. through Mexico. We apprehended five Pakistanis on the U.S. Mexico border with fraudulent Venezuelan documents.”
The report entitled, “A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border,” states that the number of aliens other than Mexican (OTMs) illegally crossing the border has grown at an alarming rate over the past several years. Homeland Security officials are concerned about aliens apprehended from thirty-five nations designated as “special interest” countries. Hundreds of aliens from “special interest” countries that are known to harbor terrorists or promote terrorism are routinely encountered and apprehended according to the report. The countries include Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
The McAllen border sector far outpaces the rest of the country in Special Interest Alien apprehensions. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, arrests of Special Interest Aliens have increased forty-one percent along the Texas/Mexico border and Texas has accounted for eighty-eight percent of the nation’s total apprehensions of Special Interest Aliens.
McCaul says Mexican drug cartels that control human smuggling networks could be unwitting accomplices to transport terrorists into the U.S., “ I don't really trust the cartels to do a background check and a screening process in terms of whom they bring into this country. I don't think they really care.”
Federal law enforcement personnel told the subcommittee’s staff that it is difficult to provide the total number of Special Interest Aliens entering the U.S. because they pay large amounts of money, between $15,000 and $60,000, to employ the more effective Mexican alien smuggling organizations and are less likely to be apprehended.
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