The Biden administration’s lax border policies are enabling "terrorists to take advantage of the glaring vulnerabilities" at the southern border, lawmakers say.
Rep. Mark Green (R., Tenn.), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, launched an investigation on Tuesday into the recent capture along the border of two individuals on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist, according to an investigatory letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Green and two of his committee colleagues say the arrests of these would-be terrorists "raise serious questions about the security of our Southwest border and the potential for terrorists to take advantage of the glaring vulnerabilities due to the Biden-Harris administration’s open-border policies," according to the letter, which was sent to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. The lawmakers instruct the agencies to immediately turn over classified and non-classified information about potential threats posed by the two accused terrorists.
The congressional probe comes just a week after border agents nabbed an Afghan national who was trying to cross the border alongside a record wave of migrants spurred on by the expiration of Title 42, a public health order that restricted immigration. A second individual on the terror watchlist, a Pakistani national, was arrested during the same rush last week.
Green says the botched 2021 evacuation from Afghanistan has decimated the United States’ intelligence networks, enabling those with terrorist ties to more easily cross into America hidden among illegal aliens.
"These two individuals are only the tip of the iceberg," Green told the Free Beacon, noting that since the Biden administration took office, "Border Patrol has apprehended a record number of individuals on the terrorist watchlist illegally crossing our Southwest border."
Around 1.5 million illegal aliens "have evaded apprehension," indicating that an unknown number of potential terrorists could have entered the country undetected, according to Green.
"This is of particular concern following President Biden’s catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the country’s resurgence as a terrorist breeding ground," the lawmaker said. "The American people are left to fear how many terrorists have been able to slip into the U.S. undetected and what their intentions may be."
Green and his colleagues—Reps. August Pfluger (R., Texas) and Clay Higgens (R., La.)—want the FBI and Homeland Security to fully brief members about the two foreign nationals who were arrested last week. They also want documents that could shed new light on "what terrorist groups are associated with the individuals and, [if there] is any information regarding whether the individuals were directed by a terrorist group to travel to the United States."
Both agencies must also "provide any information about the means, financial support, and sponsorship of the travel of the apprehended individuals, both to and across the southwest border," according to the letter.
Terrorist apprehension along the southern border began to rise sharply last year, with Customs and Border Patrol detaining 38 individuals on the terror watchlist in just the first three months of fiscal year 2022—a figure that eclipses the totals for the past five years combined.
"An unprecedented number of people on the terrorist watchlists are attempting to cross the border, and all semblance of law and order has been lost," the House Homeland Security Committee reported in January.
Around 100 individuals on the terror watchlist are expected to be apprehended this year, though that number could grow even larger as the chaos at the southern border spirals further out of control.
Former counterterrorism officials testified before Green’s committee last month that the influx of individuals from the terror watchlist is a direct byproduct of the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has transformed the war torn country into "a terrorist safe haven."
"The security vacuum in the region could result in further terrorist encounters at the Southwest border," according to Green and his colleagues.