By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – Dozens on the U.S. terror watch list were detained, including 17 in December, at the U.S. southern border with Mexico, officials said Wednesday.
However, authorities corrected earlier reports that an Iranian caught there last week was on the terror list.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) arrested 29-year-old Alireza Heidari after a traffic stop involving a human smuggler at the border in Val Verde County, Texas, as part of Operation Lone Star, officials said.
Customs and Border Protection’s latest numbers reportedly mean that there have been 38 terror watch list encounters on the border since October, including 17 in December.
Encounters of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border exceeded 2.3 million last year, an all-time high, according to official estimates.
The revelations came amid Wednesday’s Republican-led U.S. House Committee hearing on issues such as illegal migration. The committee heard testimony from Brandon Dunn, whose 15-year-old son died of fentanyl poisoning last year. Dunn and his wife co-founded a nonprofit group called Forever 15 to spread awareness about fentanyl poisoning.
“Any amount smuggled in a backpack or a fanny pack, even in somebody’s pocket, can be enough to kill thousands of people,” a teary-eyed Dunn said.
Committee members of both parties offered their condolences to Dunn — but differed sharply in their interpretations of his testimony.
Several times, Republicans on the committee suggested that the administration of President Joe Biden was deliberately encouraging migrants to cross the border illegally.
Democrats accused Republicans of pushing the narrative that all migrants are drug smugglers and other criminals.
Regardless of who is right, the border is “the worst I’ve seen it,” said Sheriff Mark Dannels of Cochise County in southern Arizona. He warned that his resources are stretched thin trying to help Border Patrol agents catch migrants who try to sneak through the desert.
“The morale of agents is extremely low, and the collective frustration is very high amongst law enforcement at all levels,” Dannels stressed. “This is the largest crime scene in this country.”
But the committee also heard from El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, who described a different scenario. “There is no open border in El Paso,” Samaniego added, explaining that migrants there routinely turn themselves in to Border Patrol for processing in an orderly fashion.
Samaniego claimed local officials and nonprofit groups have been working closely for years with Border Patrol and other immigration authorities. The judge said they had developed a workable strategy for dealing with many migrants seeking protection in the U.S. “Humanitarianism and security are not a binary choice. It is the federal government’s responsibility to do both,” Samaniego argued.
However, with hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving in two months, concerns rose Thursday over whether the United States could integrate them into American society.
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