Panel Video: America’s Covert Border War

A Professional Assessment of the Terrorist Infiltration Threat at the Border


Press Release

Panel Transcript

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America’s Covert Border War: The Untold Story of the Nation’s Battle to Prevent Jihadist Infiltration

Event Summary

The Center for Immigration Studies hosted a panel on Tuesday, February 9 to discuss one of the most politicized, taboo, and chronically misunderstood threats to the U.S. Southwest Border: the national security risk posed by long-haul illegal border entry of migrants from nations of terrorism concern in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa.


Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies.

James Dinkins, former Executive Associate Director of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (oversaw Latin American efforts to dismantle the specialized long-haul smuggling networks).

Norman Townsend, former FBI Supervisory Special Agent in Texas (whose unit interviewed Middle East migrants caught on the southern border).

Edward Dolan, former DHS Regional Attaché to Central America and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent, (Led DHS efforts to identify and interdict known or suspected terrorists and organizations responsible for moving them into and through Central America).

Todd Bensman, Senior National Security Fellow, Center for Immigration Studies, and former Senior Counterterrorism Program Specialist, Texas Department of Public Safety.

Full Panel

Mark Krikorian Introduction


Todd Bensman Statement


James Dinkins Statement


Norman Townsend Statement


James Dolan Statement


Question and Answer Session


Panel Clips

Finding the Middle Ground in the Covert Border War


Special Interest Alien or Special Interest Undocumented Noncitizen?


Recommendation for Fighting the Covert Border War


Corruption at Latin American Embassies in Special Interest Countries


How are Human Smuggling Organizations Different than other Criminal Organizations?


How Does HSI Choose What Smuggling Organizations to Investigate?


National Security and Border Security are Not Political


The Joint Terrorism Task Force Border Mission


Smuggling Organizations Used Central American Governments to Move Migrants