Terrorist Entry Through the Southwest Border

House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement

By Todd Bensman on September 14, 2023

Chairman McClintock, Ranking Member Jayapal, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify and for holding a hearing about this underreported national security consequence of the worst mass migration crisis ever to have stricken the American southern border.

By every recordable government metric, the American Southwest Border is the scene of the worst illegal mass migration in American history, now well into its third year. At least 4.3 million foreign nationals have entered the United States in 30 months over the border, as of this hearing date, with millions more coming and a Border Patrol debilitated by the overwhelming workload. Border policies that emphasize catch-and-release that began in January 2021 unleashed a seemingly unbounded human wave over the southern border that has not relented 30 months later and has broken every illegal immigration record in the nation’s contemporary history.

In a recent opinion on border policy litigation brought by the State of Florida against the administration of President Joe Biden, U.S. District Judge Thomas Kent Wetherell concluded the administration caused the mass migration that began in early 2021 “by establishing policies and practices that all-but-guaranteed the vast majority of aliens arriving at the Southwest Border ... would not be detained and would instead be quickly released into the country where they would be allowed to stay.”

Among the many serious consequences that this mass migration crisis has created — unfunded burdens in U.S. cities on housing, social welfare systems, health care, crime, and public education — is one that should transcend partisanship and rally all Americans in bipartisan spirit, which hopefully this hearing will facilitate.

This crisis has elevated and exacerbated the homeland security threat of terrorist border infiltration to discomfiting levels when, by my estimation, the national security enterprise had reasonably contained and managed this threat for nearly two decades.

This mass migration crisis has clearly broken down and degraded a set of counter-terrorism programs first stood up in 2004 at the land borders, which thus far has largely prevented the most serious outcomes from U.S.-designated terrorists who would cross the southern border and attack inside the United States.

Read the full testimony.