The porous southern border with Mexico is such a vulnerability to the United States that enemies like the Islamic State see it as a tactical advantage.
As the Democratic Party continues to resist President Trump’s every effort to better secure the border, a captured ISIS fighter confessed that the terrorist group looked to exploit the weakness to smuggle English speaking terrorist members into the US to target New York financial institutions, Fox News reported, citing Homeland Security Today.
Abu Henricki, a seized ISIS fighter with dual citizenship in Canadian and Trinidad, said last month that he was recruited by leadership to attack the United States from a route starting in Central America.
“The plan came from someone from the New Jersey state of America,” Henricki said. “I was going to take the boat from Puerto Rico into Mexico. He was going to smuggle me in.”
“They wanted to use these people (to attack inside the U.S.) because they were from these areas,” he said, referencing the New York area.
In January, a White House briefing said “3,775 known or suspected terrorists [were] prevented from traveling or entering the U.S. by DHS” in the fiscal year 2017 — the stops occurred mainly at airports, but it’s not clear how many may have attempted to enter through the southern border.
Not lost here is that thousands upon thousands of illegal immigrants entering the U.S. undetected.
And, as Border Patrol reported last week, Central American citizens are not the only ones trying to enter the country illegally.
U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to Del Rio Sector apprehended a large group of 116 individuals—from Angola, Cameroon and Congo—after they illegally crossed the Rio Grande River into the U.S. on Thursday: https://t.co/5VsJsD4nPF pic.twitter.com/HWGyVtzEC6
— CBP (@CBP) May 31, 2019
Henricki said other Trinidadians were approached to “do the same thing,” although many of them have since been killed.
He also said he was imprisoned in Manbij, Syria, after refusing the mission and was brutally tortured. Henricki said his wife, a Canadian citizen, was also taken prisoner and endured psychological torture.
Anne Speckhard, who co-conducted the study Homeland Security Today reported on, spoke with Fox News.
An adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University and director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, Speckhard posited that it is “plausible” that ISIS would send people to attack, given that the terrorist group “has organized plots in Europe with returnees.”
But she was skeptical that the planned attack is still alive.
“This plot is likely dead as those who were pressured to join it are according to Abu Henricki now all dead and ISIS is in retreat as we know,” Speckhard said. “That does not mean we shouldn’t disregard that it was a plot.”
She added that the U.S. “should take thoughtful steps to prevent” such plots.
Like securing the border?
“We often hear about terrorists trying to enter the southern border in political debate, but I rarely have come across a real case, Speckhard said. “It surprised me to hear this was a real plot by ISIS to exploit our southern border. That’s concerning of course.”
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