by Brian Lonergan
With Trump-era immigration policies being reversed at a breakneck pace since the Biden Administration assumed power, the American public should understand that will mean more illegal aliens in the country, an uptick in migrant caravans from Central America, and federal support of sanctuary laws, just for starters.
Now comes an even more ominous threat: new anti-borders policies will allow entry to Middle Eastern terrorists committed to mayhem and even 9/11-scale attacks.
After years of seeing news stories on border crossers and caravan travelers, most people could be forgiven for believing that these people are almost exclusively from Central and South America. This is not the case, a fact made alarmingly clear by a recent incident in which 11 Iranian nationals were arrested after crossing the border from Mexico into Arizona.
Before addressing the question of what Iranian nationals are even doing in Mexico, it is important to remember that the Islamic Republic of Iran—its official name—remains committed to destroying “The Great Satan,” the ruling theocracy’s favorite slur for the United States since its overthrow of the Shah in 1979.
After the Trump Administration ramped up sanctions and pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, officially the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran was largely held in check from the kind of international aggression and sponsorship of terrorism that has been its calling card for decades. With the arrival of the Biden Administration and its commitment to re-install Obama-era priorities, however, the result can only be an emboldened Iran that will seek to exploit what it sees as weakness in the West. The threat Iran represents to the United States and the world is not theoretical; it is real and well-documented.
So what are Iranians doing in Latin America? Iran is now staging operations in The Great Satan’s backyard. Iran’s primary terror client, Hezbollah, has a growing presence to our south. Navy Admiral Craig Faller, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, warned Congress two years ago that “Iran has deepened its anti-American Spanish language media coverage and has exported its state support for terrorism into our hemisphere.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also confirmed in 2019 that Hezbollah maintains “active cells” in Venezuela. Iran is clearly taking advantage of the political chaos in Venezuela to establish a terror operation within striking distance of the United States.
It is against this backdrop that the new administration’s immigration agenda threatens American national security. As our nation argues over what to do about our porous borders, the bad actors of the world like Iran have been watching. They see massive caravans from Central America demanding asylum, and many of the travelers gaining entry into the United States. What better way to get operatives into the country? These sleeper agents can easily melt into American society and await further orders, giving Tehran a potent and dangerous card to play should U.S.-Iranian relations further deteriorate.
These threats should result in an all-hands-on-deck urgency for federal immigration officers to act. Instead, state and local elected officials are increasingly and inexplicably embracing “sanctuary” laws that forbid compliance with detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. While busy virtue signaling their superior compassion, these politicians are creating a dangerous situation that could result in a massive loss of innocent life.
This is not a what-if scenario; it is happening right now. A recent investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute found that a number of states are using their sanctuary policies to shield illegal aliens who hail from nations identified by the federal government as state sponsors of terror. While the 44 foreign nationals the investigation found or the 11 Iranians detained in Arizona may sound negligible, keep in mind that it only took 19 highly-motivated al-Qaeda operatives with no real weapons to inflict the deadliest terrorist attack in American history on September 11, 2001.
As this administration and its media lapdogs call for more anti-borders policies, they will appeal to Americans’ emotions with imagery of hard-working peasants merely looking for a better life. While many may fall into that category, those pushing for these irresponsible changes will discount the threat posed by terrorists and the gaping holes in our defenses that will now be open for exploitation.
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Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.