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Chairman Green on Reports of ISIS-Connected Smuggling Network Exploiting the Border: “There’s Literally No One President Biden Won’t Turn Away”

June 26, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) released the following statement after a shocking report by NBC News that more than 400 inadmissible aliens “who have come to the U.S. from Central Asia and elsewhere as ‘subjects of concern’ because they were brought by an ISIS-affiliated human smuggling network.” According to the report, roughly 150 have since been arrested after entering the country, but 50 remain unaccounted for. 
“In President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas’ America, border security and immigration enforcement have become a punchline. There’s literally no one President Biden won’t turn away—including illegal aliens from problematic countries smuggled in by networks connected to ISIS. Every alarm is flashing red, and my committee has long warned that this administration’s open-borders agenda is bringing bad actors into the homeland in droves. DHS has now admitted yet again that this is true. This is unacceptable, preventable, and absolutely terrifying. True leaders would have accepted responsibility, adjusted their policies, and stepped aside for those who will enforce the laws they swore to uphold. Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats also own this catastrophe—they had the chance to remove Secretary Mayorkas, yet broke with centuries of precedent and refused to even hold an impeachment trial. The Biden administration and its congressional enablers have failed the American people.”

The Biden administration’s open-borders policies represent an unprecedented threat to America’s national security. Over 370 individuals on the terrorist watchlist have been apprehended attempting to illegally cross our Southwest border between ports of entry since the beginning of Fiscal Year (FY) 2021—an increase of more than 2,000 percent compared to all of FY2017-2020. Individuals from more than 160 countries have been apprehended crossing the border illegally, including aliens from countries on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. The Committee has documented how DHS’ claims about screening and vetting of inadmissible border crossers are largely meaningless.
Homeland Republicans continue to conduct rigorous oversight:

  • This month, Chairman Green sent Secretary Mayorkas and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray a letter demanding documents and a briefing pertaining to several individuals with connections to ISIS that were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in New York City, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia this month. 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. 
  • In May 2024, Chairman Green sent a letter to Secretary Mayorkas, Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Lloyd Austin, and FBI Director Wray, requesting information on an attempted breach of Marine Corps Base Quantico. The attempted breach was reportedly conducted by two Jordanian nationals alleged to be in the United States unlawfully. 
  • In April 2024, Chairman Green, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Chairman August Pfluger (R-TX), and Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement Chairman Clay Higgins (R-LA) sent a letter to Secretary Mayorkas requesting information and documents from CBP pertaining to the processing and detention procedures for inadmissible aliens on the terrorist watchlist, also known as the Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS). In January 2024, ICE arrested an illegal alien in Minnesota who belonged to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. 
  • In October 2023, Chairman Green, House Committee on Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY), and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) threatened to subpoena DHS for information pertaining to terrorists crossing the Southwest border, saying, “Instead of turning over the requested information, ‘[t]he Department ignored these inquiries or responded with vague, unhelpful excuses—citing, among other things, ‘interagency equities’ and the ‘sensitive’ nature of the information.”
  • In September 2023, Chairmen Green, Bishop, Higgins, and Pfluger demanded answers from DHS and the FBI following reports that Uzbek nationals were smuggled to the Southwest border by an individual with ties to ISIS. 
  • In May 2023, Chairman Green joined Chairmen Comer and Jordan on a letter to Secretary Mayorkas, investigating how DHS is handling the elevated national security risk presented by an increasing number of known or suspected terrorists illegally crossing our Southwest border. 
  • In the Committee’s Phase Two interim report on Secretary Mayorkas’ handling of the border crisis, Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens told Committee staff during a May 2023 interview that he was “absolutely” concerned that the high flow of illegal aliens through the Del Rio Sector was impeding his agents’ ability to reduce the number of gotaways. The Committee is concerned this could allow suspected terrorists the opportunity to cross our borders undetected.