Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said this week that Islamic State fighters are already making their way into the U.S. across the nation’s poorly defended southern border. The lawmaker said that at least 10 people with ties to the terror group have been apprehended so far.
“There’s nobody talking about it,” Hunter said during an interview on Fox. “If you really want to protect Americans from ISIS, you secure the southern border. It’s that simple… They caught them at the border, therefore we know that ISIS is coming across the border. If they catch five or ten of them then you know there’s going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the border patrol.”
The House Armed Services Committee member said that his information on ISIS’s would-be infiltrators comes directly from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
The lawmaker described ISIS terrorists’ attempts to enter the U.S. as a military assault.
“ISIS doesn’t have a navy, they don’t have an air force, they don’t have nuclear weapons. The only way that ISIS is going to harm Americans is by coming through the southern border — which they already have,” he said.
“They aren’t flying B-1 bombers, bombing American cities,” Hunter added. “But they are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico… All you have to do is ask the border patrol.”
Hunter’s isn’t the first lawmaker claim that terrorists are trying to get into the country over the porous southern border. In September, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) informed Americans that four known terrorists were apprehended at border checkpoints.
Still, the Department of Homeland Security said that Hunter’s claims are untrue.
“The suggestion that individuals who have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the Southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground,” a DHS spokesman said in a statement Wednesday. “DHS continues to have no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border.”
The ISIS threat isn’t the only issue that has some Americans discussing border security amid continued widespread concern over a possible Ebola outbreak in the U.S.
During the 2013 fiscal year, national statistics from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website show Border Patrol agents apprehended 112 immigrants from Guinea, 231 from Liberia and 145 immigrants from Sierra Leone, which are the three countries currently experiencing the most cases of Ebola.
But the White House’s Ebola strategy, like its ISIS strategy, is not about containment, as noted by Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday.
During a press conference about the U.S. Ebola patient’s death, he said: “We need airlines to continue to operate in West Africa, and we need borders to remain open. And we need to strengthen the medivac capacity. We need countries to contribute for Ebola treatment centers and we need other African countries with the capacity to send responders to join the effort and we need to make sure the health-care workers who go properly trained, properly equipped, and supported in order to prevent additional infections.”