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Chairman Green on Arrest of Alleged Inadmissible Aliens with Suspected ISIS Ties: “How Much Longer Will We Let This Madness Continue?”

June 12, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) released a statement following multiple reports that several individuals with connections to ISIS were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in New York City, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia over the course of the past week. All of these individuals reportedly entered the United States through the Southwest border, but Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) limited ability to fully vet and screen those crossing led to all of them being released into the United States. Reportedly, at least one even made use of the unlawful CBP One mass-parole program: 
“Almost weekly we are getting reports that someone with terrorist ties or other major criminal connections has been released into our country by the Biden administration and allowed to roam free for months or even years. Such bad actors exploiting our borders used to be the exception—it’s quickly becoming the rule under President Biden and now-impeached Secretary Mayorkas. It’s only a matter of time before one of these individuals connected to a terrorist group is involved in something devastating on U.S. soil, and this administration will be responsible. How much longer will we let this madness continue?”
Background: Now-impeached Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has repeatedly claimed that inadmissible aliens are screened and vetted, including in a press conference on the eve of the expiration of the Title 42 public health authority. He knows how misleading this claim is. 

  • First, it obscures the fact that DHS law enforcement simply cannot adequately vet the vast majority of illegal aliens currently crossing the border, given the historic number of daily crossings. Amidst pressures to process and release illegal aliens, Border Patrol agents and CBP officers routinely do not have the time to conduct adequate vetting to root out criminal backgrounds or possible security threats. 
  • Second, they often can only rely on information already in U.S. databases or outward indicators, like gang tattoos. 
  • Third, most countries from which these individuals are coming do not maintain extensive criminal databases that DHS officials can query. 
  • Fourth, many countries, in particular adversarial countries like China, Venezuela, and Cuba, do not share this type of information with the United States. 
  • Fifth, it is already public record that Biden and Mayorkas’ DHS has failed to properly vet individuals on the terrorist watchlist.

CBP officials have noted these realities. According to one Border Patrol agent quoted by the New York Post in May 2024, “On top of that, with the numbers we get, it’s highly probable that people are going to slip through the cracks. Most countries are decades behind us with technology and policing practices, so when we detain these guys, mostly there’s nothing on them except [if they have] terrorism or previous US charges.” Anthony “Scott” Good, chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, told the Committee in a transcribed interview that it was possible that illegal aliens not flagged by U.S. databases could have derogatory information in their histories of which law enforcement would not be aware.

In June 2023, the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a shocking report showing that in April 2022, CBP officials had released an illegal alien on the terror watchlist into the country. He was released before proper vetting was completed because, according to Border Patrol agents, the processing center “was over capacity following an increase in apprehensions, which created pressure to quickly process migrants and decreased the time available to review each file.” In April 2024, an Afghan illegal alien was found to be associated with the terrorist group Hezb-e-Islami a year after being released by ICE. Most recently, an Uzbek illegal alien associated with ISIS, who had been apprehended and released by Border Patrol after crossing the border in Arizona, was arrested on May 1 after living in the country freely for two years. 
In August 2023, former immigration judge Andrew Arthur testified to Congress that there was “no way” to vet individuals coming in via the CBP One mass-parole scheme “for criminal histories or terrorist intent in any meaningful way before releasing them into the United States. … [T]he toll this scheme will impose on border security is patent and significant.” DHS’ own 2024 Homeland Threat Assessment makes the threat clear, stating, “Terrorists and criminal actors may exploit the elevated flow and increasingly complex security environment to enter the United States.”