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Assessing Republicans’ Claims About Immigration During Border Visit

Assessing Republicans’ Claims About Immigration During Border Visit


More than 60 House Republicans traveled to the southern border in Texas on Wednesday, in search of to strain the Biden administration to enact stricter immigration insurance policies as a document variety of migrants enter the United States. They gathered close to the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, a city of fewer than 30,000 that has develop into a preferred crossing level.

But on Wednesday, only some migrants have been seen traversing the slim stretch of the river from Piedras Negras, Mexico, and climbing up the banks on the U.S. aspect. (The variety of unlawful crossings alongside the southern border usually declines across the holidays, and fewer folks are likely to cross if a notable occasion is predicted on the U.S. aspect.)

“One factor is totally clear: America is at a breaking level with document ranges of unlawful immigration,” Speaker Mike Johnson stated throughout a information convention on Wednesday afternoon. “And right this moment, we acquired a firsthand take a look at the harm and the chaos the border disaster is inflicting in all of our communities. The scenario right here and throughout the nation is really unconscionable.”

The go to displays the extent to which immigration has develop into certainly one of President Biden’s greatest political vulnerabilities, notably because the 2024 presidential election nears.

Republicans’ go to to Eagle Pass comes as Congress seeks to succeed in a deal over a spending bundle that would supply navy support to Ukraine in alternate for extra stringent border insurance policies.

On Wednesday, House Republicans threatened to cease funding the federal authorities if Mr. Biden and Democrats didn’t “shut the border down.”

Here’s a truth test on a few of their statements.

WHAT WAS SAID

“We have deadly medicine which might be pouring into our nation at document ranges.”
— Mr. Johnson

This wants context. It is true that enormous quantities of fentanyl and different lethal illicit medicine have been flowing into the United States from Mexico. But the bulk is trafficked via official ports of entry, not on the backs of financial and asylum-seeking migrants like those that have been coming to the nation via Eagle Pass.

For example, in December, federal officers on the Ysleta port of entry in El Paso found 123 kilos of fentanyl and methamphetamine over three days, hidden in autos coming from Mexico.

WHAT WAS SAID

“That 312 suspects on the terrorist watch listing which were apprehended — we don’t know what number of terrorists have come into the nation and arrange terrorism cells throughout the nation.”
— Mr. Johnson

This wants context. From October 2020 to November 2023, 312 migrants — of greater than 6.2 million — who crossed the southern border triggered matches with names on the terrorist watch listing, according to government data. But it’s not clear what number of of them have been precise matches and whether or not the F.B.I. thought-about them to be nationwide safety threats.

The watch list is an unlimited intelligence database with greater than two million names of identified terrorists and suspects, according to a recent CBS News report. The listing additionally consists of folks with ties to them, like relations, a lot of whom are usually not thought-about to be concerned in terrorist exercise.

When migrants are arrested after crossing the border illegally, officers run background checks, together with in opposition to the terrorism watch listing. When an individual is flagged on the border as a doable match to a reputation on the watch listing, the title is relayed to the F.B.I., and the bureau determines whether or not the individual is a match and certainly a risk, or if brokers want extra info to substantiate whether or not the individual in border custody is similar because the individual listed on the watch listing.

WHAT WAS SAID

“Director Wray admitted earlier than my committee the opposite day — our committee the opposite day — that with the border vast open and a struggle in Israel, Hamas can simply stroll proper in. That’s the director of the F.B.I. He fears for his personal brokers. It’s clear that is intentional.”
— Representative Mark E. Green, Republican of Tennessee and the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee

This is deceptive. The southern border has not been a preferred entry level for terrorists. Dating again to 1975, nobody has been killed or injured in a terrorist assault within the United States that concerned somebody who got here throughout the border illegally, stated Alex Nowrasteh, the vp for financial and social coverage research on the Cato Institute, a libertarian suppose tank.

Mr. Green seemed to be referring to a listening to earlier than the House Homeland Security Committee on Nov. 15. At the time, he requested the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, concerning the potential terrorism risk posed by migrants who crossed the southern border however evaded detection. Border brokers refer to those migrants as “got-aways.” Mr. Green stated about two million migrants had crossed with out detection since Mr. Biden has been in workplace.

In their alternate, Mr. Green requested whether or not folks on the terrorism watch listing could possibly be amongst those that entered the nation with out detection: “Can the F.B.I. assure the American people who identified or suspected terrorists, together with any from Hamas or different terror teams, are usually not amongst these got-aways?”

Mr. Wray replied that this was an apparent fear however that there was no actual option to know. “Well, actually the group of individuals that you simply’re speaking about are a supply of nice concern for us,” he added.

Mr. Green pressed additional, asking, “But there’s actually no means so that you can assure that Hamas isn’t in these?”

Mr. Wray repeated his emphasis on the paradox. “Well, once more, as you say, there’s the unknown unknown and the identified unknown,” he stated. “But what I can let you know is that our 56 joint terrorism activity forces are working their tails off to be sure that they suss out and establish potential terrorist suspects, whether or not they’re on the watch listing or not.”

Aishvarya Kavi contributed reporting.

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