Tancredo: 51 Terrorist Suspects Crossed Border Illegally

Office of Congressman Tom Tancredo, Dec. 12, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) today revealed figures which show that since October, 2004, 51 persons who have crossed into the U.S. illegally were arrested on suspicion of terrorism. The figures, part of a Department of Homeland Security response to a inquiry by the Congressman, document the national security risk our porous borders pose on the eve of Congress’ first attempt to rewrite immigration law in nearly a decade.

Federal law enforcement coordinates its terrorism efforts through “Joint Terrorism Task Forces” (JTTFs), which include officials from the Justice and Homeland Security Departments. Since October, 2004, JTTFs have kept track of arrested terrorist suspects who are in the U.S. illegally. The JTTF document shows 51 persons were arrested who had “entered without inspection” into the U.S. from countries such as Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Pakistan.

“If this isn’t a wake-up call to our lax border security, I don’t know what is,” said Tancredo. “What scares me is not this list from federal law enforcement—after all, we’ve already caught those terrorists. What scares me is the potentially hundreds of terrorists who make their way through our porous borders each year and go undetected.”

The JTTF document shows that the suspected illegal alien terrorists were arrested on a wide variety of charges from smuggling weapons into the U.S. to illegally wiring large sums of money into the country. Regardless of the particular charge, each illegal alien was flagged by a JTTF because of his or her suspected ties to terrorism.

“This week, the House is scheduled to complete a bill to strengthen our border security and enforce immigration laws throughout the country. Judging by these terrorism figures, Congress is not acting a moment too soon,” said Tancredo. “Knowing what we know now, what could Congress say if a terrorist attack occurred that secure borders would have prevented? We’ve relied on our good fortune for too long—we must protect Americans by stopping terrorist before they get here.”

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