Republicans are continuing to insist that ISIS terrorists are and could infiltrate the United States through the nation’s southern border with Mexico, despite the fact that Homeland Security Officials have said there is no credible evidence to back the claims.
In a live telephone town hall recorded by Arkansas Democrats, Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, who is running for Senate in Arkansas against Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor, is heard linking the issue of illegal immigration and ISIS terrorists as one connected and broad national security threat. As first reported by the Washington Post, Cotton says that ISIS terrorists are collaborating with Mexican drug cartels and could attack Americans in the U.S..
“The problem is with Mark Pryor and Barack Obama refusing to enforce our immigration laws and refusing to secure our border. I’ll change that when I’m in the united states senate and I would add it’s not just an immigration problem we now know that it’s a security problem,” Cotton said. “Groups like the Islamic State collaborate with drug cartels in Mexico who have clearly shown they’re willing to expand outside the drug trade into human trafficking and potentially even terrorism. They could infiltrate our defenseless border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas.”
Cotton’s claims have been echoed by Republicans alike. Texas Senator Ted Cruz wrote in a September op-ed that Washington must make border security a top priority because the “the government is making it far too easy for terrorists to infiltrate our nation.” On Tuesday night, in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter took it a step further claiming the U.S. Border Patrol has captured “at least 10 ISIS fighters” trying to enter the U.S. through the Mexico border. Hunter told Van Susteren, “If they catch five or 10 of them you know there are going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol.” A new ad by the Republican Congressional Committee attacks Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) for voting against border security leaving Arizona vulnerable to ISIS terrorists looking to enter through “Arizona’s backyard.”
A Fox News exclusive revealed a Texas law enforcement bulletin in late August warned that social media chatter showed Islamic State militants are aware of the porous U.S.-Mexico border and are “expressing an increased interest” in crossing over to carry out a terrorist attack. But despite the social media messages by ISIS terrorists and propagangdists, Homeland Security Officials have said as early as September 10th that there is no imminent threat or specific attack emanating from our nation’s border.
“To date we have not had credible reporting that either Hezbollah or any other terrorist group has been taking advantage of our borders to move individuals in and outs,” said Jennifer A. Lasley, Deputy Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security on September 10th at a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on the threat posed by ISIS. “It’s something we are always looking for, but to date, we have not seen credible evidence of that.”
The U.S. Border Patrol also reiterated Lasley’s testimony, saying the overwhelming number of potential terrorists are trying to come through U.S. airports.
“The numbers of known watch listed individuals that we have encountered at the ports, in between the Southwest border, is minimal compared to what we see in commercial aviation,” said John Wagner, Acting Assistant Commisoner for Customs and Border Protection, on Sept. 10th. “You’re talking tens versus thousands.”